Update from the Flemings
Mary and I want to express appreciation for your support during the past several months as Mary underwent a series of chemo infusions at the Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong. Last week, the decision was made to discontinue any further chemo treatments at this time. The initial series of three treatments appear to have been effective in getting Mary’s CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) under control for now.
Your prayers and your many expressions of encouragement and love have touched us deeply. We are blessed to be a part of such a loving community of faith. Thank you!
Holy Week at Pearce
As you know, this weekend begins a special week of observance for Christians all over the world. Here at Pearce, we’ve planned several opportunities for you to gather with other believers to remember our Savior’s life and ministry.
This weekend, I’ll conclude our examination of the Lord’s Prayer with a message on forgiveness entitled “A Two-Way Street,” based on Matthew 6:12-15. On Palm Sunday morning, Jim Heeks and his crew will serve a delicious breakfast in our Family Life Center from 8-10:15am. Tickets for the breakfast can be purchased at the door for the modest price of $5.50 per person or $22 for an immediate family of four or more.
Next Wednesday, Pastor Kathy and her children’s ministry team will be hosting an egg hunt at Pearce, beginning at 6:30pm. I’ve been asked to participate in this event, so I am planning to be there!
On Good Friday, a sober service of Communion will be held in our sanctuary at 7pm. This is a Tenebrae service, a Latin term meaning “darkness,” referring to the fact that the service ends in darkness and silence to remind participants of the horrific death of our Lord on the cross.
On Easter Eve, our 5pm Saturday service will focus on the anxious period of waiting that the first followers of Jesus experienced in the hours following Good Friday and before receiving the news of Jesus’s resurrection. Although at this point in Christian history, we know that Jesus did indeed rise from the grave, we continue to experience a sense of waiting as we look forward to His return. As a special feature of this service, two young girls (Grace Brody and Avery Grimm) will be brought before the Lord by their parents.
Pearce will hold two worship services on Easter: the first at 9am followed by a 10:30am service. The services will be identical, filled with the rich music of Easter. I’ll be starting a new four-week sermon series that will take a look at the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. On Easter, we’ll consider His encounter with two of His disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-35).
I hope you and your family will avail yourself of these times to gather to observe Holy Week.
Leaders of the Pack
Officers for Pearce’s Official Board, the board providing oversight of our church’s ministry, were elected last week. Evidently last year’s officers did a great job as all three of them were elected for another one-year-term. They are Jim Morton (chair), Mike Wilson (vice-chair), and Chuck Cockrell (legal secretary). I’m grateful to each of these individuals and appreciate their servant-leadership in helping our congregation fulfill its mission and vision.
On a bit of whimsical note, the board observed in a rather delicious way, a significant milestone at its meeting. Chuck Cockrell, who also serves as the chair of the board’s finance committee, brought a selection of desserts sliced in half. Board members were encouraged to enjoy “half a dessert” in recognition that Pearce has reached the point in its loan payments where the portion allocated for principal is equal to that allocated for interest.
The current weekly payment on Pearce’s debt is $4,866.25. So of that payment, 50% is now going to principal. Total debt now stands at $2,321,000. This debt was incurred in 2001, when the latest addition (the Pearce atrium, Family Life Center, and educational wing) was constructed. A special note of thanks to those of you who give regularly to our “Building Fund” and help reduce this debt.
Annual Mission Garage Sale
Earlier this week, I made my way to our “mission garage sale” shelves in my basement. You may have such a spot in your own house. Throughout the year, as Mary and I come across items we no longer wish to keep, we take those items down and set them on the shelves, poised to be taken to Pearce during the month of April.
I remind you that Pearce’s Annual Mission Garage Sale, now in its 13th year, has raised more than $150,000 for mission projects, both local and global. Last year’s sale set a new record and raised an astounding $21,437.28!
Following last Sunday’s worship service, I was gratified to have the unexpected privilege of meeting Xavier, a student at The Charles Finney School. Xavier, along with another student from the city of Rochester, has received a scholarship to attend this Christian school as a result of past Mission Garage Sales!
The 2016 Mission Garage Sale will be held on April 22 and 23. Why not start gathering items now?
The Report of My Death
In 1897, the New York Herald published an article reporting that Mark Twain, then 61 years of age, was “grievously ill and possibly dying.” A quite-healthy Twain, in London at the time of the article’s publication, responded “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
I felt a bit like Twain when a someone recently commented that a Pearce attender had asked them “Why is Pastor Wally going on sabbatical for a year?” The report of my sabbatical, I feel compelled to state, was an exaggeration!
The real story is that I will be taking a sabbatical beginning on Friday, May 27, and that I will return to my pastoral duties at Pearce on Wednesday, August 31. Except for officiating at a couple of weddings and a week serving as the camp pastor at the Wabash Family Camp in Indiana (July 17 & 23), I’ll be “off the grid.” The Pastor’s Cabinet has graciously advised me to take advantage of the opportunity to attend other churches during this time and see what I can learn from observing other congregations.
The purpose of the sabbatical is to make headway on my dissertation at Northeastern Seminary, a task that I have delayed far too long! My dissertation, for those of you who are curious, is an ethnographical study of Pearce.
Ethnography is, to use the definition of Mary Clark Moschella in her book Ethnography as a Pastoral Practice, is “a way of immersing yourself in the life of a people in order to learn something about and from them.” More simply, it is a means of understanding an organization, Pearce Church in my case, by listening to the stories of the people who comprise the organization. So, even though I will be away from Pearce, I will be immersing myself in the stories of Pearce to better understand our community of faith.
I’ve had many people ask how I’m feeling about the sabbatical. I’ve responded that it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, I’m looking forward to doing some research and writing. On the other hand, I am a bit anxious at the thought of stepping away for a few months from my vocation of 36 years. It will definitely be a new and challenging experience for me!
I’ve begun meeting with Pastor Jeremy to ensure everything functions smoothly in my absence. He will be serving as the interim lead pastor while I am gone.
I am deeply appreciative to Pearce’s generosity in granting this sabbatical. Thanks for your support, as I anticipate this time of being away.
Continuing to Break the Awkward Silence
I’ve been reading Jeffery B. Gibson’s recent book on the Lord’s Prayer, entitled The Disciples’ Prayer: The Prayer Jesus Taught in its Historical Setting. Gibson’s concluding comments include this: “…to follow Jesus and say the Disciples’ Prayer is to pledge oneself to demonstrating and proclaiming a certain way of ‘being’ in the world, a way that mirrors and magnifies the very character of the God of Israel as Jesus made him known.”
This weekend, I’ll continue our consideration of what Gibson calls “the Disciples’ Prayer” as found in Matthew’s gospel. Focusing on verse 11 of chapter 6, I’ve titled this message “Absolute Dependence” and will explore what it means to rely on God for our daily bread.
Communion This Month
It is a long-standing Pearce tradition to offer Communion on the first weekend of each month. Communion this month will be offered instead on Good Friday (March 25) at Pearce’s 7pm service in the main sanctuary. Communion will also be served, resuming our regular schedule, on the first weekend of April.
Looking for an Informative Read?
I’ve just begun making my way through Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, follows the lives of landlords and tenants in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. While focusing on stories of eviction, the book prompts the reader to consider the bigger issues of poverty and inequality.
Early reviews of the book, which was just published this past Monday, have been quite positive. The Wall Street Journal reviewer noted, “[Desmond’s] argument in this impressive work of scholarship is that eviction is such an exploitative process, so biased in favor of profit-seeking landlords, that it pitches otherwise capable tenants into crisis and thus into poverty.”
I realize, as one who stands in the tradition of B. T. Roberts, that I should have a greater sensitivity to the issues surrounding poverty in our time. Roberts, in his own day, expressed his conviction when he wrote, “My special mission is to preach the gospel to the poor.”
This coming Wednesday evening (March 9) at 6:30pm, Lydia Monroe, Carol Stevenson, and Kristin Coon will discuss their recent visit to Nzige, Rwanda. Educators who are interested in being a part of the team heading to Nzige this August to help train the Nzige staff, or teachers desiring to help prepare materials for that trip, are especially encouraged to attend. Join Lydia and her team in Room 134 of Pearce’s education wing.
Carol Stevenson was recently appointed to lead the team of teachers headed to Nzige in August. Carol has extensive cross-cultural experience and is well qualified to serve in this leadership role.
From Roof to Parking
As I reported last week, plans are being finalized to have the Parmerter roof replaced this summer. A $161,200 bid from Elmer W. Davis Roofing was recently accepted by Pearce’s Property Committee. To date, a total of $115,190.50 has been received and only $46,000 remains to be raised by July 1. To reach this goal, we’ll need to receive a weekly average of $2,900 over the next sixteen weeks.
Already, Pearce’s leadership is anticipating our next project and is investigating the possibility of expanding our parking capacity. Our church’s Orchard Street lot can accommodate 114 vehicles and our parking strip on the east side of Orchard Street can hold an additional 22 cars.
The parking lot owned by the college (known at RWC as Lot A) can handle 154 vehicles and is available for our use on Sundays and on evenings when major events are not being held at the RWC Cultural Life Center. There have been several occasions in the past couple of years, weekday funerals for example, when Lot A is not available to our congregation and, as a result, parking has been challenging. The elimination of the college’s parking lot on the site of the new Crother’s Science and Nursing Center has resulted in a greater demand placed on Lot A.
No decisions have been made regarding parking, but the Property Committee is taking a look at our congregation’s options. Bob DeRoo, a member at Pearce, has suggested that we all begin bicycling to Pearce, but his suggestion has yet to be embraced by the majority of those attending worship services here.
Another Savory Season
Jim Heeks and his crew recently wrapped up another season of Savory Suppers on Wednesday evenings. The average attendance during the seven weeks the suppers were held in January and February was 168, many of them being people from our community who take advantage of good food at a reasonable price!
Jim sent me a photo of Karen Monahan with the potato whisk. The photo reminds me that those who volunteer in the kitchen place their lives at risk. Karen does look a bit “whipped” by the whole experience. (Sorry, bad pun!)
This past Sunday Carol Stevenson, one of the members of the Nzige team that returned home last Friday, shared briefly in the worship service of her experience meeting her sponsored child. The other members of the team, Lydia Monroe and Kristin Coon, were privileged to meet their sponsored children as well. Ashley Carroll, a VISA (Volunteers in Service Abroad) intern in Africa, blogged about her experience of accompanying Pearce’s team in Rwanda. Read her fascinating account at followmetokenya.wordpress.com.
Also, if you haven’t gone to Pearce’s “Linked with Love” Facebook account, take a minute to do so. It is filled with wonderful photos and video clips form the team’s recent visit.
Annual Report Available for Download
If you missed Pearce’s Annual Celebration held earlier this month, you can download the annual report, “Bridges over Troubled Waters,” that was distributed on that evening. The report is available at our website at pearcechurch.org.
Another Saturday Night
Sam Cooke and Cat Stevens may have sung, granted with some grammar issues, about it being “another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody,” but that isn’t the case for Pearce’s Saturday worship service. This past weekend, the service experienced a new high attendance with 104 people attending the 5pm service.
Breaking the Awkward Silence
This weekend, I’ll begin a three-week series of messages on the Lord’s Prayer as found in the sixth chapter of Matthew’s gospel. I’ve titled the series “Breaking the Awkward Silence: A Primer on Prayer” and hope it will be helpful to you in your own on-going conversation with God.
It’s About Time!
Have you ever pulled out the most recent version of Pearce’s photo directory to put a name to a face of someone you just met only to find that they aren’t in the directory? It’s easy to see why that happens as the last photo directory was published in the spring of 2012. Think of all the people who have become a part of our family over the past four years.
Sign up for your photo session during the next four weeks. You can sign up on-line at pearcechurch.org, or at a table located in Pearce’s atrium following worship services.
Kicking Off the Moss
I must be in an oldie gold mood this week. I’ve already referred to “Another Saturday Night” and now I’m about to refer to an old Elton John song. (Am I becoming more nostalgic the older I get? How old am I? According to Josh Kelly at this past Sunday’s “Children’s Moments,” I am 100 years old.)
In “Your Song,” Elton speaks of sitting on the roof and kicking off the moss. His lyrics remind me of the Parmerter roof and the need for a new, moss-free roof on that part of our facility.
Recently, Pearce’s Property Committee, under the leadership of Mendal Dick, approved contracting with Elmer W. Davis Roofing to have the new roof installed this summer. Elmer W. Davis’s bid came in at $161,200. One of the reasons their bid was accepted is due to the excellent service they gave us when the new sanctuary roof was installed by them a couple of years ago.
Financial preparation for this important project continues to move forward. As of last weekend, a total of $114,230.50 is now on hand to defray the cost of the new roof.
Elected to Pearce’s Board
I am pleased to announce that Chuck Cockrell, Aimee Lyon, and Terry Taber have been elected to three-year-terms on Pearce’s Official Board. Terry is coming back onto the board after being away from it the past couple of years. Chuck is returning for his second consecutive term and this will be Aimee’s first stint. These new members will assume their responsibilities at the March 10 sitting of the board.
Also elected were three members to the Nominating Committee: Jamie Chalmers, Rob Keim, and Lettie Hursh. These three will begin working with the other members of the Nominating Committee beginning in May.
I am appreciative of the 217 members of our congregation who participated in the election by casting their ballots. Thanks, also, to all those who allowed their names to be placed in nomination for both of these areas of service.
Once again, I am reminded of how blessed we are at Pearce to have so many gifted leaders serving Christ and His Kingdom!
Dr. Timothy Dwyer, professor of Christian Scriptures at Roberts, will be our guest preacher this coming weekend (February 13 & 14). Tim has chosen Psalm 1 as his text, one of my all time favorite passages of God’s Word. He has titled his message “Stable as an Oak Tree.” You won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear this gifted teacher help you to better understand God’s Story.
A Rare Opportunity
In last week’s Dangling, I announced a six-week seminar entitled “Islam’s Crisis: Our Opportunity” beginning on Wednesday, February 24, at Pearce. This seminar is taught by Dr. Don Little, Dr. Gail Schlosser, and Dr. Benjamin Hegeman, all of whom are with the Houghton-based Lilias Trotter Center. (Lilias Trotter was a missionary to Algeria in the latter part of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.)
The first session is on the topic “Islam’s Internal Crisis” and will introduce those attending to the theological and ideological divisions that have been a part of Islam from its beginning. This first session will be held at 6:30pm in Room 82 of Pearce’s lower educational wing.
Books to Better Understanding Islam
Dr. Gail Schlosser provided me with a few book recommendations that may be of interest to those of you seeking to better understand Islam. The following books are available on the bookrack in Pearce’s foyer.
Engaging Islam by George Houssney can help alert you to the challenges and opportunities of engaging Muslims in a dialogue regarding the Christian faith. The author was born and raised in Lebanon and has more than forty years of experience in evangelism and church planting among Muslims around the world. Copies of this book are available for a $19.00 donation.
Last year, I had the opportunity to read Nabeel Qureshi’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It is the first-hand account of Nabeel, a young man who grew up in a tight-knit American military family with Pakistani roots. He met David Wood on a trip while in college and, through their friendship, came to faith in Jesus Christ. Copies of this book are available for a $13.00 donation.
Dr. Schlosser also recommended Fresh Vision for the Muslim World by Mike Kuhn. Published by InterVarsity Press, this author challenges readers to love Muslims. Kuhn, a personal friend of Dr. Schlosser, lived for more than two decades in the Middle East, serving as a pastor and a college Arabic instructor. This is available for a $13.00 donation.
Islam’s Crisis: Our Opportunity
You’ll have an opportunity to learn about Islam in a series of six seminars presented at Pearce, beginning Wednesday, February 24. The course will be taught by Dr. Don Little and his colleagues from the Lilias Trotter Center. The mission of the center is to enable “thoughtful Christian engagement with Muslims.” (You can read more about this organization on their website http://liliastrottercenter.org)
Dr. Don Little presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of the Christian Study of Islam at Houghton College and is well acquainted with Islam. At the age of 21, Don sensed a call to church planting in the Arab world. He and his wife, Jeanie, served as church planters in North Africa from 1988-98. Don then served as the Executive Director of Arab World Ministries Canada for more than eight years prior to his move to Houghton, New York. He and his colleagues bring a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding this topic so critical to our time.
You won’t want to miss this thoughtful and informative seminar. Join us on February 24 at 6:30pm in Room 82 of Pearce’s lower education wing.
Last Song on the Playlist
This weekend, we’ll conclude our series “The Soundtracks of Our Lives” with our consideration of “A Cantata of Comfort” based a passage from Isaiah 54. We’ve examined several emotions expressed in the songs of Scripture, ranging from praise to sorrow. This week’s message reminds us of God’s faithfulness in comforting us amid life’s disappointments.
Dr. Tim Dwyer will be our guest preacher on the weekend of February 13/14. The title of his message is “Stable as an Oak Tree” and will examine Psalm 1. Tim, in my opinion, is one of the best expositors of God’s Word that I’ve ever heard. I hope you’ll plan on being present at either our Saturday or Sunday service that weekend.
The Passing of the Baton…or Flowers
Last Thursday evening, Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT) met for their first monthly meeting of 2016. At the gathering, outgoing chair Karen Hopkins was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Becky Draper, the new chair of the GCLT.
Karen has done a great job leading the GCLT over the past two years and I am grateful for her gifted service to Pearce.
Nzige on Our Mind!
This week, Mary and I received a letter from one of the parents of a child we sponsor in Nzige, Rwanda. Ange is a nine-year-old girl whose father, like many Rwandans, is a subsistence farmer.
Her mother’s letter, thanking us for supporting her daughter, reminded me of how Pearce’s “Linked with Love” partnership makes a significant difference in the lives of those sponsored through ICCM (International Child Care Ministries).
To date, Pearce families have sponsored 102 children in Rwanda. Packets for eight children awaiting sponsorship may be obtained by contacting Kim Brittin in the church office (594-9488). It would be wonderful to find sponsoring families for these children in the coming weeks!
Also, be praying as Kristin Coon, Lydia Monroe, and Carol Stevenson prepare to head out to Nzige on Thursday, February 11. To keep track of their journey, check out our new Facebook page at “Linked with Love/Pearce FM Church”.
The North Chili “Caucas”
By now you have probably heard more analysis of the Iowa caucuses by political pundits than you care to recall. How refreshing it is to think of the elections being held this week at Pearce. What a contrast between the two! Here at Pearce, we have five wonderful candidates for three-year-terms on the Official Board and four great candidates for terms on the Nominating Committee. All of them are godly, gifted individuals who would well serve this congregation.
If you are a member at Pearce and were unable to attend last evening’s Annual Celebration, you still have an opportunity to cast your ballot. Simply stop at the table in the lobby before and after worship services this weekend.
The results of this year’s elections will be released in next week’s Dangling!
Be sure to check out the 2016 Annual Report that was distributed at last evening’s gathering. Printed copies are available at the Welcome Kiosk or you can download it from the NEUs page of the Pearce website.
Join members of last year’s team that traveled throughout Israel for a fascinating overview of their experiences on Wednesday, February 10, at 6:30pm in Room 134.
Hear of the places that most impacted members of the team and catch a glimpse of what is in store for those joining Pearce’s tour of the Holy Land in February 2017.
The Soundtrack Continues to Play
Thus far this month, we’ve listed to a hymn, a jingle, a fugue, and a dirge. (By the way, Pastor Jeremy is still trying to comprehend a fugue. Perhaps that’s why I’ve heard such an odd assortment of music emanating from this office next door to mine!)
This weekend, we’ll look at a “serenade” as we consider the words of 2 Samuel 1:25 and reflect on the songs of sorrow that invade each of our lives. In this passage in Samuel, David grieves the loss of his best friend in song. His words prompt us to consider the deep emotions that we encounter on the death of someone near to us.
Join us for this fifth message in our series “The Soundtracks of Our Lives” at our 5pm Saturday or 10:30 am Sunday service.
For Crying Out Loud!
I’m pleased to announce that Pastor Kathy and Rita Dean, Pearce’s nursery director, are making plans to launch a nursery for the Saturday evening service, beginning on February 20. The “purple room” on the lower level of our facility is a well-equipped nursery within close proximity to Parmerter Chapel. Parents attending the worship service will be provided with pagers in the event they need to be summoned to the nursery for any reason.
As the Saturday service has grown over the past four years, it has become apparent that a nursery is needed. (Attendance the first four weeks of the service in 2012 averaged 62. This year it averaged 85. It is interesting to note that the average worship attendance of a Free Methodist congregation in the United States is 77.)
Jim Morton, on behalf of the Pearce Official Board, announced at the close of last Sunday’s worship service that I’ve been granted a sabbatical beginning in late May. My time away from my responsibilities at Pearce will begin on Friday, May 27, and conclude on Monday, August 29. The purpose of this sabbatical is to provide an opportunity for me to work on finishing my D. Min. degree at Northeastern Seminary.
I began this program at the seminary in the spring of 2009 and completed all but the dissertation phase by 2011. For the past five years, I’ve not made any progress. (Alas!)
The board has graciously encouraged me, along with my colleagues on Pearce’s pastoral team, to take time to make headway on my dissertation. I am grateful to them for their support. Although I will not complete my dissertation by summer’s end, I hope to make significant progress and complete my work by the end of March 2017.
I’ll be meeting with my Pastor’s Cabinet (Nelson Grimm, Gina Spear, and Terry Taber) in a couple of weeks to clarify details of the sabbatical. Dr. Doug Cullum will be serving as my dissertation advisor.
“Bridges over Troubled Waters”
Why should you come to next Wednesday’s Annual Celebration at 6:30pm in Parmerter Chapel? Let me suggest the following reasons:
- You’ll be surrounded by nice people who love the Lord and have a heart for the work of the Kingdom and of the local church.
- Individuals from our congregation will be sharing how the Lord, working through His people, brought them through “troubled waters.” I never tire of hearing people’s stories!
- No offering will be received.
- Two words: cheesecake bar! Heeks & Company will provide a wonderful time of refreshment in the atrium at the close of the celebration.
Over the Rooftops
This week I was talking with Lauryn Bates, a cast member of the production of Mary Poppins which is on stage at the RWC Cultural Life Center this weekend. When I asked her for her favorite song of the production, Lauryn said, “Definitely Step in Time!” This is a song where Bert, the chimney sweep, and the rest of the cast dance across the rooftops of London. The lyrics of the song include, “Never need a reason, never need a rhyme,
over the rooftops step in time.”
This may be a stretch, but doesn’t that remind you of another roof…say the one over Parmerter Chapel? You’re right, that is a quite a stretch.
Just let me add that I’m glad there is no cast dancing atop Parmerter with the existing condition of the roof! But the good news is that we are making significant progress on raising the funds necessary to reroof Parmerter and replace its aging and brittle shingles.
To date, we have received a total of $107,441. This means we are nearing our $160,000 goal. Thanks for helping us gather the necessary finances to have the new roof installed this summer!
Many of the Pearce family surrounded Trevor Davis during last Sunday’s worship service, for a special time of prayer for him as he heads for service in the Marine Corps. Trevor’s ship date was originally scheduled for this month, but it has now been delayed until April 11.
Although disappointed, Trevor will now get his first choice of MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of aviation mechanics. Another upside, according to Trevor’s mom, Phoebe, is that he’ll be around for a few more weeks.
Trevor appreciated Sunday’s prayer time and is moved by the congregation’s show of love and support.
Insight into Rwanda’s Challenges
I’ve been reading a book published last week with the title Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship by Anjan Sundaram. The book recounts the author’s time in Rwanda overseeing a training program for journalists.
Covering the period of April 2009 to December 2013, Sundaram highlights the challenges journalists face in providing an independent and free press in a country where there is little tolerance of any voice that departs from the government’s narrative.
There is, as suggested by Publishers Weekly, a “wearying grimness” to the book. But it does provide insight into a part of Rwanda that is often hidden from the awareness of those visiting there. The British newspaper The Guardian recommends the book as required reading, especially by donors in the west.
I think this book would be a beneficial read for anyone from Pearce who travels to Rwanda as a part of our “Linked with Love” initiative.
Quite the Preparations
Rwanda’s ICCM (International Child Care Ministries) Director, Ephaste Niyigena, sent Lydia Monroe some photos earlier this week. The photos show students at the Nzige school rehearsing a traditional tribal dance that will be presented to Lydia and her teammates upon their arrival at the school. Looks like it is going to be quite the welcome!
I hope you’ll be a part of our Annual Celebration on Wednesday, February 3, at 6:30pm in Parmerter Chapel. This gathering is an opportunity for us to acknowledge God’s many blessings on our congregation over the past year, as well as acknowledge His guidance in 2016. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Bridges Over Troubled Waters” and will provide an opportunity to focus on our care ministries at Pearce.
Yesterday Jim Heeks, our Food Service Director, stepped into my office to let me know that following the meeting on February 3, a “cheesecake and toppings bar” will be provided in Pearce’s atrium. The thought of a nice slice of cheesecake loaded with selected toppings will hopefully prompt you to consider attending this year’s Annual Celebration!
Telling God’s Story
Last week, a large mural was installed in Parmerter East. This striking painting of acrylic on masonite features 28 scenes from the Bible, all from the Old Testament, save the central image of the crucifixion.
Charles Bratt, father of Chaplain Jonathan Bratt, invested two years of studying scripture and painting the mural, completing it in the mid 1970s. Over the past 40 years, the painting has been displayed at more than 100 churches and art shows.
Mr. Bratt, writing about his experience, comments, “This mural was a turning point in my life….The Lord has used this work to bring me closer to Him!”
Jonathan’s father recently celebrated his 83rd birthday and was gratified to hear of the mural’s installation at Pearce.
On behalf of the Nominating Committee, I am pleased to announce the five nominees for this year’s Official Board elections: Chuck Cockrell, Lori Garratt, Aimee Lyon, Terry Taber, and Ardis Tucker.
Ballots will be available at the Annual Celebration held on Wednesday, February 3. Three of the nominees will be elected to three-year-terms on Pearce’s Board. (Balloting will also be available during the days immediately following the Annual Celebration.)
A brochure providing more information regarding each candidate will be available at services this weekend or can be found on the NEUs page of our website.
Coffee and Conversation on Nzige
Any educators interested in participating in this summer’s VISA (Volunteers in Service Abroad) team to Nzige, Rwanda are invited to a meeting this Sunday, January 17, at the home of Ruth Stewart (300 Chili Avenue Extension, Churchville). Beginning at 6:30pm, the meeting will provide an opportunity for Lydia Monroe to give an update on her team’s plans for their exploratory trip in February. It also provides time for those attending to share ideas for what the team should explore during their time in Nzige and at the Amizero Special Needs Daycare. Ruth is planning to provide Rwandan coffee to inspire the dialogue. For more information, contact Lydia Monroe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Eye on History
Susanne Mohnkern has recently accepted the position of Church Historian at Pearce. Susanne, Professor of Medical and Surgical Nursing at Roberts, has an interest in general Free Methodist history and in the story of Pearce in particular. She is a fourth-generation Free Methodist on both her father’s and mother’s sides of the family. She has attended Pearce for 56 years. (Obviously, she began attending at a very young age!)
Pearce has been without a historian since Kathryn Martin moved to Texas in 2014. I am pleased that Susanne will help us maintain our archive of historical documents and photos.
Talking with Susanne about her new responsibilities, she related a quote she had recently come across: “History is like a swing. You have to go back to propel yourself forward.”
A Global Perspective
Becky Draper has been appointed to serve this year as the Chair of the Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT). Becky is in her third year on the GCLT and has a passion for both local and global ministry.
Becky is a 1994 graduate of the State University at Geneseo, with a degree in psychology. She then completed a Masters in Social Work at Syracuse University in 1996. Becky now works as an adoption social worker for Bethany Christian Services. She and her family have attended Pearce since 2001.
Commenting on assuming this new leadership role, Becky said, “I am excited about watching the GCLT moving forward with new projects and new opportunities, both locally and internationally. Serving on the GCLT has provided me with a wonderful vantage point from which to see God’s hand working through servant-hearted people. I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this role.”
This past year, Karen Hopkins lead the GCLT and did an excellent job, particularly in developing Pearce’s “Linked with Love” partnership with the Rwandan village of Nzige.
On My Nightstand
I just finished 1944: FDR and the Year that Changed History, an excellent history by Jay Wink. It includes a dramatic account of America’s response to Nazi aggression and, in particular, the concentration camps. It’s a timely read as today’s news is filled with the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe.
I’m nearly finished with a book I mentioned last weekend, Rachel Held Evan’s Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church. The book chronicles Evan’s quitting church while in her twenties, helping to plant and then close a new church before she turned thirty, and finally settling into an Episcopalian congregation at the age of thirty-three. You likely won’t agree with everything she says, but she’ll help you to understand her generation’s quest for authenticity in today’s churches.
I am in the early chapters of Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Genius. Weiner, a delightful curmudgeon, zips around the world in the search for the genesis of genius and creativity. He travels through places like Athens, Edinburgh, and Silicon Valley. This is a fun read as you explore with Weiner the possible reasons for genius seeming to cluster in particular times and places.
It sounds like I have an obsession with geography if I add a final book with the title Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About the World. By Tim Marshall, a former British correspondent, this book helps me understand world events in light of geographical realities.
Looking to Grow in Your Faith?
The first is “Understanding and Interpreting the Bible,” taught by Laura Cockrell. I’m always challenged in my search to understand, interpret, and properly apply scripture. Laura’s class will help you in your own quest.
The second is Pastor Jeremy and Michele Kelly’s class, “Snapshots: Glimpses into the Lives and Writings of Classical Christian Writers.” This class provides a great opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of Christians over the history of the church.
All adult classes begin at 9am this Sunday. For a full listing of all six adult courses available, check out our website at www.pearcechurch.org.
Linked with Love Updates
There are several updates with regard to Pearce’s partnership with the school in Nzige, Rwanda.
First, applications are now being received for any educators interested in participating in a short-term mission team to Rwanda this coming summer. Lydia Monroe is heading up this group that will leave in late July for two weeks. The team will provide teacher training for the staff at the Nzige school. The approximate cost of the trip is $2,900. You can obtain application and informational forms by contacting Lydia Monroe at email@example.com.
Secondly, we have nine child sponsorship packets available in the Pearce office. During 2015, our congregation “adopted” 101 children for sponsorship in Rwanda. I’d love to see these remaining children sponsored in the coming weeks. If you would like a packet, call Kim Brittin at 549-9488.
Speaking of sponsored children, I received several photos of children with gifts they received last month. Ephaste, the Rwandan director of International Child Care Ministries, noticed while visiting the homes of children from the school in Nzige that many of them did not own mattresses to sleep on. Mattresses were purchased and I’ve included one of the photos of a young girl with her new gifts.
Thirdly, in just over a month from now, Lydia Monroe and two others from Pearce will head to Rwanda on an exploratory trip in preparation for the team that will be traveling this summer. The group will be staying in this home in the village of Nzige that is being rented for their use. Be praying for Lydia, Carol Stevenson, and Kristen Coon as they prepare to travel in February.
In the Triple Digits!
This past weekend, we reached triple digits in our effort to raise $160,000 to replace the roof on Parmerter Chapel. Thanks to your faithful giving throughout 2015, we raised a total of $100,084.
Recently John Harriff, a hardworking member of our facility crew, gave me a newspaper clipping that he came across in his mother’s papers. The article on Roberts Wesleyan College that appeared in the Rochester Times-Union on April 3, 1952, included a photo of the construction of Parmerter Chapel.
It’s interesting to note that that cost of constructing the entire Parmerter Chapel totaled $200,000 in 1952!
The Soundtracks of Our Lives
Last weekend, I began a new series of messages based on songs found in various Old Testament passages. Each of the songs examined in this six-week series addresses a situation in which strong emotions were felt.
This weekend, we’ll take a look at a song that is found in 1 Samuel 18:7: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Join us as we consider this song sung by women from the villages of Israel and the ways in which their “jingle” stirred strong feelings of jealousy in King Saul.
Happy New Year!
On behalf of the entire Pearce staff, I want to wish you a very “Happy New Year!” I look forward to working and worshiping with you in 2016! May God richly bless you as you serve Him and His Kingdom!