Last month I started sharing with you some of the different aspects that need to happen during the interim time, before your new pastor arrives. The first task is “Coming to Terms with Our History.” Sharon Church has a wonderful, and long history. In 2017 we are celebrating the 200th year of this church. (Be checking the newsletter for information about the celebrations). There are at least three different aspects of looking at Sharon’s history.
Celebrating the Good:
How has God been at work in and through SCPC to spread the good news of Jesus Christ? How have you experienced the grace of Jesus Christ through this congregation? What are the highlights and accomplishments of the past 10 years? 50 years? 200 years? What are some ways you have had fun together, as the body of Christ? Life is a glorious gift and it is always good to celebrate.
Releasing the Hurt & Anger:
During the recent past Sharon went through a difficult time. Mistakes were made (by everyone, not just one side or the other). Opportunities were missed. Emotions ran high. There are many emotions that go with all that happened – fear (will Sharon survive?); sadness (my friends have left and my church just isn’t the same), anger (I can’t believe s/he said that, or did that, or…), pain (my heart is broken, the ache inside is overwhelming).
When I arrived here two years ago Sharon Church had a dazed look. People seemed shell-shocked and afraid. Much healing has happened and we are moving into a wonderful new future. However, the emotions of the past don’t just disappear. Covering them over does not mean that they aren’t still there and won’t impact the future. Any unresolved feelings and issues will be baggage that is carried over into the ministry of the new pastor. What can we do now that will help us release these issues and feelings? What changes need to be made before the new pastor arrives?
Grieving the Losses:
Our world, and the community we serve, is changing rapidly. Sharon church has also changed. Any change, even ones we want, can bring a certain amount of emotion. Some of you probably miss Roger. You may have been counting on him to officiate at a wedding (or funeral), or to baptize your children. Others are probably glad that he is gone, but still struggle with the changes that are coming. Some of you miss your friends that have left the church. Some of you miss the good old days when Sharon had multiple worship services and a growing Sunday school, lots of staff and programs. If we don’t adequately grieve these losses they will have an impact on the future. What do you need to allow you to come to terms with these losses?
As we process and work through our feelings and issues we will come to terms with our history. We will also have more energy and faith to enable us to lean into the future and embrace the ministry to which God is calling us. If you have questions, comments, or ideas about this please let me know. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), give me a call (412-264-7400), come by the office and chat or I’ll come by to visit you. I’d love to hear your remarks.
Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise! – Psalm 84:4
Collaborations often result in works far greater than the sum of their parts. The United States Constitution, for example, although largely worded by James Madison, was the result of ideas brought forth by 55 men, and continues to be amended today by hundreds of patriotic minds. Very few of those individuals have won names for themselves by personal accomplishments; however, in working together with what gifts God gave them, these people have given birth to one of the greatest political documents of human history.
Would you believe that the tradition of music in worship was also the result of collaboration?
Most Christians know King David’s name, and know that one of his greatest contributions to our faith history was through music. But David was not alone in establishing a music ministry. He had buddies. Talented buddies, according to 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and the Psalms. Asaph, Ethan, and Heman appear again and again as music directors, composers, singers, and musicians, right alongside of David, sometimes arranging David’s own works into finished pieces.
The bible tells us that Heman was the best singer, and that he and Ethan would usually handle the percussion during worship. Asaph conducted, and coordinated the voices, instruments, and arrangements - second in command to the King in these matters. Imagine David, Asaph, Ethan, and Heman, young men with their strings and drums, working out new songs for worship; then preparing the choir and musicians and congregation to use the music to glorify God.
Each one of these men had very different musical gifts. Each was talented; however, before reading this article, how many of us really deeply contemplated the unique abilities of Heman the Ezrahite, son of Joel, son of Samuel the Seer (yeah, that Samuel)? It was not in his individual ability that a timeless greatness resided, but in his collaboration with other faithful people, which resulted in a lasting offering to God. Check out “Book III” of the Psalms to see more of these four great men’s work for our Lord.
God takes what we can offer and combines it with others to make something far greater than we could have given on our own. He does it with our tithes. He does it in our committees. He does it in our ministries. He takes what is “ours” and makes it far greater—He makes it into “His.”
November 8 marks the first anniversary of Mark and Treva’s collaboration at Sharon Church. For a year now, Mark and Treva have combined their individual gifts in order to bring others closer to God. We collaborate not only with each other, but with singers, sound people, musicians, ministers, committees, children, guests, and you, the congregation, to give glory to God. For this honor, we thank you, and we thank God.
Mark and Treva
The Church Pictorial Directory is now in the hands of Design Team at Lifetouch. We will be getting a proof back to check with a turnaround time of only one week to make changes and get it back to them. We will have an emergency meeting with as many of the Membership Committee and Directory Team as we can to check it over as soon as the proof comes. Hopefully it will be ready for distribution at the beginning of our bicentennial year.
A huge thank you to Judy Yeck who spent countless hours using the Lifetouch software to create our activity pages including a church history and many pictures of groups, committees and activities. George Kovatch, Walt Gorr, and Bekah Wiley assisted in taking many of those pictures and getting them to Judy to put in the activity pages. Also thanks to George, we have pictures to include of 14 members who were unable to come for photo sessions. Debbie Prostko, Deb Williams, George and Doug assisted in making the roster pages as correct as possible. We got much of this work in the last few days before our deadline, so that we could get some extra directories for the church.
The directory will be spiral bound, and have our bicentennial logo on the cover. Everyone who had a photo session will receive a directory. We will also receive a CD we can use to print additional ones as they are needed for members who weren't able to have a photo taken by Lifetouch and for future new members as they join.
Thank you to everyone involved in making phone calls, session sign ups, staffing the photography session days, and helping to make decisions. I couldn't have done this without all of your help! Special thanks to the rest of the Membership Committee and especially to Sara Lintner for getting me through all of this even while she was struggling with a painful shoulder issue. So glad you are doing better now Sara!
Our next date for serving At Home Communion will be the first Sunday of Advent, Sunday, November 27, 2016. At Home Members who live in Moon and Crescent Township can expect to receive a post card earlier in the month asking them to call the church office if they would like to have someone from the church bring Communion to them after church that Sunday. If we don't hear from you, you will get a phone call just to make sure. If you decide you would like Communion, you will be contacted by the volunteer sometime during the week before to set up the time for the visit. If you are not currently on our list for receiving At Home Communion and would like to be, please contact Debbie at the Church Office or Jan Weber (number below).
If you have signed up to volunteer in the past and haven't been available, expect to hear from me for November. If you know you are available on November 27th and think you might be interested in volunteering, please contact the church office
Current and Past Good News articles and announcements.