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November/December 2017

Focus on first

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Prayer and the health of the church go hand in hand.  When the church is engaged in meaningful prayer, it becomes both the cause and the result of greater church health.”
Autopsy of a Deceased Church” by Tom Rainer
Prayer – meaningful, spontaneous, heart-felt prayer: this theme has echoed in our reading together as a Consistory, it arose in our survey results, it appears again and again in scripture. God’s people are to be a people united around and in prayer together and with one another. We have been wondering about prayer as a Consistory and in smaller groups.
You may have an active prayer life, spending time each day with God alone. You may pray only when prompted or in desperation or somewhere in between the two extremes. But one of the things that many of us struggle with is praying together out loud. There is something we resist or are afraid of when we gather in a group of people. We wait, for the expert (pastor, elder, teacher) to do it for us. We wait, for someone else to go first. We fear – what if I say it wrong, stumble over my words, or forget something. We pray silently, we pray in our heads and hearts. We are “unpracticed” at praying aloud and so we shy away from it. But prayer is central to the health of our faith and the well-being of our congregation. Prayer is at the center of our relationship with God. Prayer is the gift we have received to connect us to the living God. It is in prayer that we come into the presence of God.
We are promised that we are always heard, that there is no prayer that is “out of bounds”. We are told that God longs to hear from us – to speak with us, to know and be known by us. We are told in scripture again and again to pray. Jesus spent time constantly in prayer, yes, he prayed alone in quiet places but we also know that he prayed for and with his disciples. We know this and yet we are often fearful or resistant to leading prayer in a group.
If we are going to grow in health and depth, if we are going to grow as a body of believers it is going to be because we have chosen to take seriously the need to learn to pray together. Our prayers must come from the heart, they must be spoken from the depths of who we are. We need to concern ourselves with what God thinks and not with what others may think of the words we use. We need to be willing to stumble over our words, forget things, or say it in a way we wish we hadn’t – but to pray. We need to be courageous, to be willing rather than to say, “I will be praying for you.” “May I pray with you now.” What a difference that would make in the lives of others! What power in compassion and hope in praying together.
The other thing about prayer is that it is open to all of us. All ages, abilities, education levels, and qualifications can pray. We can choose to pray together boldly, we can choose to focus our prayers together even when we cannot be in the same room. We can choose to surround the needs of our community, family, and neighborhoods in prayer at any time and in any place.

In the coming year, you are going to hear a lot about prayer. The Consistory is making prayer a focus of our life together in the coming year. Each month in the bulletin you will receive a theme, you will be asked to pray around and on a particular topic throughout the month. This is not intended to limit your prayers but to invite us all to be in prayer together around particular topics. It is intended to provide First Reformed with a united focus each month. I would invite you into our prayers together. I would invite you to be brave enough to pray aloud with one another, pray not just for each other but with one another. I would invite you to pray when you feel led, to be brave enough to suggest a pause for prayer, to be brave enough to speak your prayers with one another. In the coming months, will you join me in praying together as a united body of Christ for the health of our church, the well-being of our community and for one another?                                                                                                                                                            --Pastor Edie

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      2    - Marge Bielema
      3    - Caleb Lenz
            - Dan Zuidema
            - Marlyn Faber
            - Stacy Dykstra
      6    - Carol Janvrin
      7    - Diane Christensen
      8    - Jodie Dornbush
      9    - Dave VanderVinne
      12  - Brenda Sheckler
      14 - Dick Buikema
            - Mary Faber
      17 - Irene Charneski
            - Nathan Neighbor
      19  - Peggy Kilburg
      20 - Mason Krum
      22  - Rex Winget
            - Randy Whitmore
            - Diane Van Zuiden
            - Larry Wiersema
      24  - Bob Kuehl
      25 - Val Bush
           - Alfred Dykstra
      27 – Bob Betsinger
      29 - Marilyn Huizenga

    

30 - Gerald Damhoff

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             3 - Randy & Brenda DeWeerdt
- 39th Anniversary
             7 - Steve & Mary Gowan
- 48th Anniversary
             9 - Kurt & Traci Schipper
– 26th Anniversary
            11 - Stan & Maryellen Venhuizen
- 50th Anniversary
            16 - Leon & Joyce Ottens
– 61st Anniversary
            21 - Ken & Judy Vanderploeg

- 48th Anniversary

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      1    - Chuck Smith
- Marcia Brackemyer
5    - Genevieve Nedbal
7    - Drew Dykstra
12  - Joy Stuart
13 - Sandra Damhoff
15  - Delores Rus
- Doris Rus
16 - Les Dornbush
- Harold Smith
17 - Clink Kettler
18 - Millie Heun
21 - Brenda DeWeerdt
23  - Ramona Renkes
24 - Ruth Tiesman
- Bernard Houzenga
27 - Christy Van Zuiden
28 - Donna Vogel

    

30   - Lillian Reynolds

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8   - Robert & Ardith Zuidema
61st Anniversary
18 - Ike & Mary Ann Temple

69th Anniversary

Greeters
Narthex                       Chapel
Nov. 5              Dave Sheckler             Larry Shipma
Nov. 12            Candie Schipper          Bruce Christensen
Nov. 19            Paul VanderVinne       Garry Medema
Nov. 26            Ken Vanderploeg        Nancy Dykstra
Dec. 3              Allen Dykstra               Ron Pessman
Dec. 10            Clink Kettler                Arnie Vogel
Dec. 17            Larry Shipma               Dave Sheckler
Dec. 24            Bruce Christensen       Candie Schipper
Dec. 31            Garry Medema           Paul VanderVinne

                        Ramp Door
Nov. 5              Allen Dykstra
Nov. 12            Larry Shipma
Nov. 19            Ken Vanderploeg
Nov. 26            Ron Pessman
Dec. 3              Larry Shipma
Dec. 10            Allen Dykstra
Dec. 17            Ken Vanderploeg
Dec. 24            Ron Pessman
Dec. 31            Allen Dykstra

Ushers
Nov. 5              Charlie Carter
Nov. 12            Arnie Huizenga
Nov. 19            Charlie Carter
Nov. 26            Paul VanderVinne
Dec. 3              Arnie Huizenga
Dec. 10            Charlie Carter
Dec. 17            Paul VanderVinne
Dec. 24            Arnie Huizenga
Dec. 31            Charlie Carter

Scripture Readers
Nov. 5              Ron Pessman
Nov. 12            Carol Janvrin
Nov. 19            Larry Senior
Nov. 26            Rick Mason
Dec. 3              Brenda Sheckler
Dec. 10            Nancy Dykstra
Dec. 17            Ron Pessman
Dec. 24            Carol Janvrin
Dec. 31            Larry Senior

 

Children’s Sermon
Nov. 5              Michelle Snyder
Nov. 12            Larry Senior
Nov. 19            Pastor Edie
Nov. 26            Janvrin’s
Dec. 3              Nancy Dykstra
Dec. 10            Michelle Snyder
Dec. 17            Pastor Edie
Dec. 24            Larry Senior
Dec. 31            Nancy Dykstra

Nursery
Nov. 5              Renee & Brody Mason
Nov. 12            Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Nov. 19            Maxine Whistler & Lori Neighbour
Nov. 26            Matt & Sarah Plumley
Dec. 3              Renee & Brody Mason
Dec. 10            Chris Krum & Mary Gowan
Dec. 17            Maxine Whistler & Lori Neighbour
Dec. 24            Matt & Sarah Plumley
Dec. 31            Renee & Brody Mason

Sound System
Nov. 5              Brian Bush
Nov. 12            Ken Vanderploeg
Nov. 19            Brian Lenz
Nov. 26            Dave Sheckler
Dec. 3              Brian Lenz
Dec. 10            Dave Sheckler
Dec. 17            Ken Vanderploeg
Dec. 24            Brian Bush
Dec. 31            Art Kilburg

Projector
Nov. 5              Karin Bush
Nov. 12            Rick Mason
Nov. 19            Candie Schipper
Nov. 26            Brian Bush
Dec. 3              Jerry Bush
Dec. 10            Brian Bush
Dec. 17            Karin Bush
Dec. 24            Karin Bush
Dec. 31            Val Bush

Fire Department On-Call Schedule
Oct. 29-Nov. 4 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Nov. 5-11 – Kathy Barsema
Nov. 12-18 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Nov. 19-25 – Brian & Karin Bush
Nov. 26-Dec. 2 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Dec. 3-9 – Kathy Barsema
Dec. 10-16 – Chuck & LeAnn Smith
Dec. 17-23 – Brian & Karin Bush
Dec. 24-30 – Larry & Sandy Senior
Dec. 31-Jan. 6 – Kathy Barsema

Food Pantry
November
Rice or Noodles
Helper: Larry Senior
December
Peaches, Fruit Cocktail, Jell-O, Pears or Applesauce
Helper: Kathy Barsema

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Christ our feast
Christ is not only a remedy for your weariness and trouble, but he will give you an abundance of the contrary, joy and delight. They who come to Christ do not only come to a resting place after they have been wandering in a wilderness, but they come to a banqueting house where they may rest, and where they may feast. They may cease from their former troubles and toils, and they may enter upon a course of delights and spiritual joys.
—Jonathan Edwards

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“Time to Thank, Time to Share”
Thanksgiving is a time to share.
A roasted turkey stuffed with care,
potatoes, yams and buttered rolls
are passed around in festive bowls.
But first we thank our God above
and share with others his great love.
The dish served last is always best —
a slice of pie for every guest.
—MaryAnn Sundby

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Prayer will be a major focus of our ministry together in the coming year. The Consistory has a vision for the entire congregation joining in prayer for our world daily and has suggested that we give the congregation themes each month to focus on in prayer. Beginning in November, each month you will have a different suggested focus – you do not need to limit your prayer to this area but we are asking everyone to add this area of focus to your prayers.
Themes:
November – Prayers of Thanksgiving
December – Prayers for those in need (homeless, hungry, underhoused, without support or resources)
January – Prayers struggling with mental health (depression, mental illness, addiction, loneliness)
February – Prayers for the ministries of our church
March – Prayers for the church in the world (Classis, Synod, RCA, other churches)
April – Prayers for missionaries (local and global)
May –Prayers for families (parents, kids, adults with aging parents, elderly, struggling/broken relationships)
June – Prayers for our First Responders
July – Prayers for our Country
August – Prayers for schools
September – Prayers for our local communities

October – Prayers for victims of disasters and war

CREATIVE CREW NEWS, ETC.
Submitted by Judy Vanderploeg

August 23, 2017 - After ‘most every Creative Crew meeting lately, I’ve returned home and told Ken I didn’t capture a THING to write about. Not so this time! This was going to be “one of those days.” I was awakened at 4 A.M. by a terrific ringing in my ears—a side-effect of Meiniere’s disease, and sometimes caused by too much salt. Well, I’d been good, BUT—pollen counts were way high, and sleeping on line-dried, pollen-covered linens may have been the culprit. Such issues affect hearing and balance—not good when needing to tote a heavy sewing machine down winding stairs! Well, I tried to get back to sleep, but that didn’t happen until morning, and then I overslept! Despite that, I managed to get out the door early, and felt PRET-ty good about that—until... being foiled by TWO trains blocking the crossing. So much for being early. Finally—a nice jaunt into town on yet another atypically-cool August morning. With much harried school traffic around 14th Avenue this time of year, I’m always thankful for everyone’s safe arrival!

Okay. I got my wobbly self, cupcakes, dialysis pillows, purse, and big tote of sewing projects safely down the stairs in one trip, but, hmmm—although Flo’s car was in the parking lot, there was no sign of her in the Crew room. I plunked down my stuff and headed back out for my machine when a stealthy Flo suddenly addressed me from behind. “Hi, Jude!" “Well, Hi! How are you?" Well I shouldn’t have gotten her started, AND I should have made her report this because she can relate it way better than I (she had us in stitches for the rest of the morning, and I think the retelling to each arriving member got funnier and funnier). Okay. This ALL started because our metal coat rack had gotten nabbed for use during the rummage sale a couple weeks prior, and it had not returned. Its mob of hangers and five big bed pillows (donated for the stuffing and stored atop the rack) all had been plopped on the desk—leaving us no usable space there until the rack came back to roost. I’d chantered at Ken about getting it back (well THAT totally fell on deaf ears), so I then had notions of tackling its return myself, but thought wrangling it up the stairs with an already bum shoulder, elbow and wrist was not a wise 1-person operation. Well, before I arrived, a much braver Flo told herself, “I can do this.” After steering the coat rack out of the Fellowship Hall and into the short, narrow hallway, she stationed herself in the middle of the rack and commenced to getting a solid hold on it. Now, it seemed logical that one could just keep lifting the leading end of the rack up each progressive step until it reached the landing, and then, walk the tail end up the five steps the same way. The new chair lift and a drinking fountain usurping that same space would make for a tight squeeze, but, with care, the job was doable. “Yup, sounds good.” So, everything seemed to be going along swimmingly in this assent on up the stairs. One step at a time. Yep...yep... WH-OA-nope! Flo suddenly realized, “This isn’t wo-rk-ing”—just as the rambunctious rack balked at the whole operation, and stubbornly collapsed on down into one big heap—knocking Flo backwards in the process and landing smack dab on top of her! Boy, THAT was not at all good. Now, with a granddaughter’s upcoming wedding that very weekend, was Flo’s immediate thought of possible broken bones? Negatory. All she could think of was, “O-h, N-O! I just ruined my face for the wedding!” Ha! That just “busted us up” during every re-telling (especially when SHE was laughing even harder than the rest of us)! Well, thankfully, she wasn’t knocked out, and there was no sign of blood or broken bones. Somehow, she disentangled herself from the wreckage, and then found her way to the Crew room and me. NO doubt about it—this was gonna call for more help. Flo’s first reaction was, “L-A-R—R-Y!!!” Um, maybe you should try the phone. Well, the response on the phone was not from Larry, but from a recorded female voice advising that phone service was down right then, and to “try later.” Hmm. Was this a wide-spread outage? “Try calling Ken,” says Flo. I tried. Same response. Sigh... Okay. It was up to us to at least make an attempt at getting the rack hauled off the steps and wrangled back into the Fellowship Hall. I followed Flo, and got my first look at the carnage. With mangled metal and a barrage of more coat hangers splayed everywhere on the steps, it looked like one giant game of Pick-up Sticks. Staring at it, we came to the realization that this style of coat rack is somehow built without the use of ONE single bolt or screw to fasten the thing together! I figured it must be constructed for quick set-up and disassembly. Yeah, it disassembles like nobody's business all right. (According to Ken, though, gravity is supposed to hold it together. Uh huh). Anyway...first we tiptoed down through the mess, picking out all the coat hangers, and stowing them in the Fellowship Hall. Now—to get the whole rack business back in there too. With arms akimbo, we sized up the whole disaster. Well, one section already faced that way, sorta like a wagon tongue, so--l first started to tug that toward the Fellowship Hall door as Flo guided it all in the middle. This section was mostly flat, except for one long skinny piece that stuck straight up in the air. It seemed pretty stable, though, and we didn’t give it much thought....until the whole wreckage began its move, that is. Yeah, then the skinny piece decided it should fall over too, and of course, it aimed straight for Flo’s foot. “OW!” So THEN Flo’s thought was, “O-kay. NOW I can’t get my shoe on for the wedding!” Ha! Well, despite added injury, she hobbled around, and we got the whole deal lugged back into the dimly-lit Fellowship Hall. Then we dusted our hands of the whole affair, and left it for Larry to figure out—if we ever got a-hold of him. As we then headed towards the door, something dark in the comer caught my eye. “What IS that?” I had suspicions, but it was too dark to make anything out. We grabbed our cell phones, turned on the flashlight functions, and aimed the beams toward the corner. Yup. “A BAT!” “Larry has been looking for that bat all week,” says Flo. And here we’d been nonchalantly trotting right past it who knows how many times! We also learned that the old theory that bats cannot take off if they are lying on a flat plane is one big fallacy, because this bat had first been spied on the floor of Pastor’s Edie’s office. Before anyone could capture the little intruder, it became airborne, and quickly winged its way to parts unknown and disappeared. Larry had been scouring the church from top to bottom in search of it. Do you realize HOW many places a bat could hide in a church of this size? 50-bazillion might not be far off here.

Well, injured foot or not, Flo instantly scurried off to find a box to cover and stay our winged creature, and when located, she hurried back and plopped the improvised cage over him. That act also proved that he was nowhere near dead, as he was immediately heard fluttering around in there-smacking himself against the cardboard cage and attempting another great escape. Shudder!

Well, it seemed ’most everybody else had been fully aware that a bat was lurking around in the church. Knowing that a bat is somewhere inside is like knowing there is a mouse in the house—you’re on pins and needles until the invader is caught, clobbered, or dealt with. Consequently, many members currently involved in church activities were uneasy about being in the same building as a possibly-rabid bat. So, embattled Flo and I promptly trooped off to Karin’s office to advise that the marauder had been located, plus-we regaled her with the coat rack fiasco, which had us all in stitches again. Karin thought Flo REALLY should surround herself with bubble-wrap for the remainder of the day. Ha! Then, just as we were leaving, Pastor Edie came through the door, and we regaled her with the whole hilarious scenario. MORE laughter. We also concluded that we are an unusual church. Instead of “bats in our belfry,” ours are in the basement. New trend. Pastor Edie’s parting words of wisdom concerning Mr. Bat? “You’d better stack a couple of hymnbooks on top of that box!” We wasted no time in following her suggestion. (Takin’ NO chances, man)!

Well, phone communications were up and running again, so Larry soon came to the rescue. He restored order to the mangled mess that had been our coat rack, returning it to its usual spot in the blink of an eye! THEN, he took on the bat. We’re not sure how that all transpired, because he immediately blockaded the nearby door as a precaution. That was okay, as we really did not want to know anyway. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” pretty much applies here. Side note: After that whole deal, I kept seeing “bats” everywhere for weeks!

Well, the later telling of this whole tale to the Crew gals instigated all kinds of bat stories that morning-inducing even MORE laughter (and probably less work). Tee hee! Even the Happy (offering) Can involved the bat, when one member noted that she was MOST thankful that the uninvited visitor had been corralled! This week had also been one of so many mishaps or health issues among us, that we were surprised all members didn’t get an email directive stating, “CREATIVE CREW WILL MEET AT THE HOSPITAL THIS WEEK.” Ha! Thankfully, that was not the case, and we could ring the halls with laughter and share with each other too. We DID fear that our hilarity had carried upstairs-disturbing Pastor Edie and Karin, but Pastor Edie later reported that they had not heard us at all—unlike SOME-times. Boy, we must be sloughing off. Tee hee. A side note here: On a quilting show later, a felia told of a MEN’S quilting retreat he is in. When asked about any differences between their meetings and women’s quilting groups, he replied, “Our men’s group is WAY quieter, they don’t talk much-mostly just sit and sew. ” Ha! (They have NO idea what they are missing, though)!

Later in the morning, after all that dust had settled, we were delighted when Cheryl Juist stopped in for a bit. Despite a busy summer, she had completed her first plarn mat. Like those that others have made, its production did not quite go “according to Hoyle” either, as the mat had turned out smaller than intended. Well, Cheryl rectified that in short order! She just crocheted a contrasting border around the edges. Ta-da! “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Undeterred by such glitches, she was now revved up and ready to crochet a second one.

September 14th - This was the week just following an earthquake in Europe, and back-to-back monster hurricanes (Harvey and Irma) in Texas and Florida and nearby islands. The damage, chaos and heartache left in the wake of 180 mph winds and SO much water was almost beyond description. As if that wasn’t enough, western states and Canada had been so ravaged by forest fires that even our skies were often a peculiar color. (Later, Hurricane Maria nearly demolished Puerto Rico too). Here, though, we’d had no rain for weeks, and temperatures were still abnormally cool. About that same time, I’d started reading from the Book of Ezra. Now, because the people of Israel had not followed God’s directives, and had not put Him first and utmost in their lives, after many warnings, they had been hauled away into captivity and again made into slaves, just as when they’d lived in Egypt. After many years, and plenty of time to repent, King Cyrus of Persia declared that those who wished should go back home to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Woo-hoo! Going HOME! That sounds great on paper, doesn’t it? Until you think about it. Like our earthquake & hurricane victims--going home to what? The old homesteads weren’t there to return to. Other, non-God-fearing people had moved in, and THEY weren’t going to offer assistance. Like many hurricane victims, they were starting from “scratch.” No livable house to return to, no gardens ready to offer food, no available water or way to earn money right away. What will we eat to live? Where will we live? No paying jobs maybe (the temple-building work was all volunteer). How will we live? It often takes such times of catastrophe to remind us that ALL that we may think we’ve gained on our own can swiftly be taken away. GOD supplies our every need. We owe EVERYTHING to HIM—our very lives, whatever shelter is over our head and all that is in it, any money that comes our way, dear family and friends who walk this journey with us, even the church in which we worship... Are we thanking God and giving Him the glory for these blessings and so much more? At the beginning of each week, on the Lord’s Day, do we place God first and foremost by gathering in that church to worship and praise Him-the Lord of All? Or do we only show up if maybe it’s convenient? Like the captive Israelites, are we too, being held captive by much of true unimportance that controls our lives, things we are putting ahead of God? As we have seen, God only puts up with that for a while, and then, it is WE and likely our children, too, who will pay the price if GOD does not take first priority in our lives.

Well, back to the Crew here. There were no bats to deal with this day; so-back to normalcy again, I came home with little to write up. It really seems, though, that I get sent off on an awful lot of “goose chases” for stuff, and I’m beginning to think the gals do that on purpose. If I am off and running, it’s impossible to capture any of their quips or funny happenings. Ha! Because of that running around, in the four hours there, I only sewed up two (all-ready-to-sew) little dialysis pillow forms, and one didn’t even get pressed before sending to my dad for stuffing! Now, I ask you, “Conspiracy, or not?” Tee hee!

Anyway...most of the gang were there, creating a lively atmosphere, but we still really missed three who could not join us. Everyone was busy, and many had been diligently working on projects at home too. Previously, as a committee of two, Donna and Sue had purchased and sewn fabric into new curtains for the Blue Room. So--when you walk past the South East corner of church now, take note of the new (non-water stained) curtains hanging in those windows--a big improvement! Hanging them up, however, was not a slam/dunk affair either, as a desk resides right under the south window—barring the set-up of any ladder for easy access, which meant-standing on an aging desk that already had a note plastered to it concerning its wobbly legs. Suffice it to say, some of us were holding our breath that this desk was NOT built of the same kind of stuff as our crazy coat rack! In our heads, we thought, “Hurry up, get that curtain hung, and get down from there before something happens!” Wel-I-I, apparently the old spring-rod for that curtain had “sprung” its spring and just refused to stay in place, even after several attempts at adjustment. Messing with that instigated more “up and downing” from the desk, which was just too fearful to watch. Finally, I think a new, and more cooperative rod was found, everyone stayed safe, and the curtains looked great! Later on, even the snazzy curtain-fabric leftovers were sewn up and put to good use—as a little dialysis pillowcase! Aren’t we thrifty?

Oh! Some time ago, we informed you that we could not use any Farm & Fleet bags for “plarn,” because they were of a heavier gauge plastic. Well, scrap that. Their bags are now lighter, and we CAN use them. Having discovered that, Mary, who was now back from a short mat-making hiatus, was already working on a “red, white and blue” mat. AND we couldn’t help but giggle, because big ideas for the one after that were already spinning around in Mary’s head. Ha! God has surely blessed many of our members with MUCH creativity!

Although she could not join us, Carol Onken sent along her recently-completed plarn mat via Donna. It was another neat design, and we wondered HOW many different designs had been created so far—just using a few different colors! We thank all of you (our Associates) who have been assisting the Crew by donating or cutting bags for this operation. We couldn’t do it without you! Others around the area are helping too. While I was upstairs on one of those previously-mentioned goose-chases that day, a local lady came in with a whole bunch of bags, and we had a good conversation as a result. It’s amazing how God can use lowly grocery bags to bring about all kinds of blessings!

Since our previous meeting, Mary and Brenda had been invited to share their mat-making skills and examples with the DAR group in Thomson. The ladies of that group had learned of our plarn project from the Fulton Journal. After reading about it, it was their desire to make plarn mats for Veterans who are homeless-hoping to offer them love and comfort in this way. Mary and Brenda enjoyed sharing the “ins and outs" of crocheting mats from “plarn,” and afterward, they were served a really good lunch too. Yummy!

September 27th - The end of September already. Unbelievable! It certainly hadn’t felt like late September, though, as we’d just been through a whole week of very hot weather not experienced in the whole month of August—in the 90’s, and humid too. We weren’t used to that at all!

We were surprised and blessed to have Mary Ann Gossard join us that morning! She fit right in as if she’d always been a part of us. We invite all of you (women OR men) to join us—even for just a minute or for the whole morning. To locate us from just inside the east church entrance, take the stairs down to the lower level, turn right, and enter the first door on the left. Usually you can’t POSSIBLY miss us because of high spirits in the air, but once in a blue moon, either everyone arrives later, or we are small in number, and it’s actually quiet in there! So, we cannot always be found by the reverberation of much banter and good conversation, but you can help to instigate that! Tee hee.

More work continued on the plarn mats, and Brenda was plenty glad to finish up another that day. Working on it while draped over her lap during the siege of hot weather was not at all comfortable. Whew! But—that did prove that these mats will help retain the warmth both under and over a person’s body during cold weather. In that same vein—Mary had been contacted by a member of RSVP—a Creative Crew counterpart in Clinton. The lady wanted to know more about our plarn project, which they, too, are attempting, despite trouble getting enough bags. That gal advised that the nuns of The Canticle have given out plarn mats to local police officers, who offer the mats to any who may benefit by them. She also shared this bit of news: (For a reason unknown to us) an area police officer assisted in bringing a homeless lady to another location. Before leaving, though, she asked the officer if he would go back and get her (plarn) mat. He quickly went to do so, asking, “You mean that rug?" “No. The mat that I sleep on,” was her reply. She wasn’t going to leave without it! That impressed upon us just how important these mats are to those who receive them.

Well, our Crew room was not the only one with activity that day. No. Remember ALL that effort to get those curtains nicely hung up in the Blue Room? Yeah—well they were back down again. Ha! Because the east window of that room has been so prone to leaking in copious amounts of water during rain storms-drenching the carpet, the Property Committee decided that drastic measures were needed to nip that in the bud. So, that day, Stonemason, Bob Betsinger, and Larry Shipma used their many skills to remove that window, and then built the wall up by laying two courses of cement blocks within the bottom of that opening. After the layers cured, above that, two courses of clear glass blocks would be laid and mortared in (one layer per day, to let the mortar set up without weight “squishing” it out). The finished project would cut off any viable path for water to sneak in, but still let in daylight. Next year, they hope to do the same to the boiler room window. After completion, the window wells will be completely filled in, as they only seem to collect water, leaves, trash and those random dead skunks! While the two worked, we found the above-mentioned Quilt Guy to be right. NO giggling or chatter wafted from that room at all. Ha! All business, those guys. Well, LOTS of God-given gifts were being utilized there that day—a great thing. May all of us be blessed with a greater desire to be servants of God, to be used just as we are, when, where, and as He wants—For HIS glory!

Mission Trip Poem
By Brenda Sheckler
Well another year has passed and it was again time for our annual adventure.
We were all excited and ready for the week – that’s for sure.
This year we had seven in our van,
with two more to meet us in Kentucky on Sunday was the plan.
Returning again to join us was Eric,
which was really terrific!
Also blessed to have another newbie on our team,
what a joy to have Candie with us, and she fits right in so it would seem.
Thanks to Kunes Country we were travelin in style.
Nancy led us in prayer for safety each and every mile.
It was a beautiful fall morning as we headed on our way,
looking forward to having a great day!
As we traveled along we heard shrieks of tires, pumpkins, and SHOES… oh my!
I forgot to bring work shoes Nancy proclaims with a sigh.
Lots of conversations happening – caught part of one regarding creation of man,
as to why God then created woman.
An answer was quick to be heard in such a strong bold tone,
God said he (meaning man) could never survive on his own!
Wasn’t long and one of the seven dwarfs had joined us as Arnie became dopey!
As the week goes on remember that … could dopey appear again… maybe.
Carole was again busy with her Kumihimo and snagged a new helper.
After watching for a bit Candie was ready to give it a try, so they worked together.
Wasn’t long and Eric said hand one to me and I will give it a try as well,
into production they would all excel.
Nancy and Brenda sorted through a bag of beanie babies to see if any treasures could be found,
wasn’t long and a few special ones were abound.
Nancy kept a few pretty fish beanies for her little Piper,
as a special gift for her.
Brenda came across a white bear with WWJD on his chest and declared him mascot for our team.
His name is Sheldon and we placed him in the front of the van with a smile on his face he would beam.
We arrived safely to London, Kentucky, where we stopped to eat dinner at Big Boy.
We were having a lot of laughter and conversations full of joy.
A gal from the table next to us came over and sat with us and exclaimed, this table is having more fun than mine,
and I can tell by the way ya’ll talk, ya’ll are not from around here was her line.
We filled her in on our plans for the week,
then she shared with us about a chicken festival in town that we should seek.
We were then headed to Walmart to stock up on groceries before heading to campus.
Tired and weary, but we finally were settled in, thanking God for watching over us.
Spent some time sharing assignments that had been given by Pastor Edie for us to tackle,
before the night was over it was time to relax and in laughter we would cackle.
Sunday morning we attended worship and after lunch we decided to check out the festival in London.
We enjoyed listening to gospel music, which by the way is where the idea was created to sing to you…we had a lot of fun!
Monday morning we were all up and ready for Tommy to fill us in on what work they had on the to do list.
Into three groups we would divide....Nancy's group working on the landscaping did she insist.
You see this year Nancy came prepared by bringing her own tools, including her lopers.
As she was clearing the brush, low and behold she even found some high heeled shoes and loafers.
Ken and Lee got busy working in the restrooms installing sinks along with plumbing.
Carole, Brenda, and Katie started in on the ceilings and walls – sanding, priming, painting.
Nancy, Candie, Arnie, and Eric got busy on cutting down trees, pulling weeds, and other yard work.
While doing so were very careful, you never know what critters might lurk.
The Boss Lady was a new name given to Nancy by Tommy's helper Chris.
And she lived up to the title, making sure nothing was left amiss.
Eric had the opportunity to run a big man’s tool – the good ole chain saw.
From comments were heard from home, I think Carol was in awe!
Turns out the chain saw must have gotten a bit hungry and wanted part of Eric’s shoe.
It only took a little bite – his shoe must have been too hard for the saw to chew.
Dopey, I mean Arnie, was also given a big man’s set of wheels to use for the week – a gator!
If he ever went missing, we knew he was out for a ride and would return sometime later.
He claimed at times the gator had a mind of its own and would go a different direction than it was suppose to.
Would catch him off guard and he didn’t always know what to do.
He confessed he thought it was in reverse to back up, but the gator decided to go forward instead.
Caused him to run into the garage door, turned around to see a policeman, thought he was dead!
By the end of the day the entire crew was very tired and hot.
For the first day we had accomplished a lot.
Nancy & babies - oh yes we all know that she loves babies and children.
Monday night while watching some little boys play baseball Nancy donned a big grin!
There amongst the crowd was the cutest little girl maybe about one year old.
Wasn’t long and Nancy was right there making her laugh & smile which melted Nancy’s heart of gold!
Marrijane from Fish Kill, New York joined our group on Tuesday.
She stepped right in and went to work, a helping hand in every way.
The rest of the week they continued on the landscaping and clearing of the overgrown weeds.
The other gals kept working on getting all the painting done, Ken and Lee moved on to other needs.
Each night we would walk to the reflection pond for dinner.
We had a new cook this year - Pam was her name - and she was definitely a winner!
We were all very tired and weary at the end of each day,
using muscles that were crying out to us - stop treating us this way!
Nancy led a Bible study in the evenings using a book entitled I am a Church Member.
There was one certain person (dopey) who would sometimes fall asleep, wonder if the Bible study he would remember?
The kumiestas would be busy each night,
keeping their hands moving while sitting by the light.
After dinner one night Candie, Nancy and Brenda took a walk to check out the view.
We made it all the way to the top of the hill....whew!!!!
By the time Friday noon rolled around,
we all took a look around.
5 Sinks with faucets done, 2 security & 6 fluorescent lights hung, 5 door closers installed, walls and ceiling painted,
Oh, I almost forgot, the deck stained.
Where there once was nothing but a big cluster of overgrowth and weed,
what seemed like an impossible task... they surely did succeed.
At the beginning of the week Nancy got herself a pair of work shoes to wear.
She wore them out – we held a private burial ceremony, buried them in the big brush pile, and left them there.
The guys did go off campus one morning to finish up a roof job in McKee.
They were given a warning that snakes like to hide under building materials – copperheads and rattlesnakes- but none did they see.
We even found time to work on the guest house a bit,
it looked so nice and for more company it was fit.
Proud of all that we were able to get done,
now it was time for some more fun!
It was a nice afternoon for a drive,
safely at Flat Lick Falls we did arrive.
Walked down the trail until we were able to see  God's beautiful creation,
tucked away in a gorgeous countryside location.
Upon leaving we decided to take a different road which turned out to be a mistake.
Had to turn around and oops got a bit stuck – all of us pushing to get out it did take.
Our last night there we headed to Shiloh’s for a delicious meal which has become an annual tradition.
We had been so blessed to have Marrijane with us – thankful she could join our team – she was a great addition.
To us she gave a beautiful sun catcher with a picture of her church on it as they are celebrating 300 years in 2017.
She can’t wait to come back again next year – must have liked what she had seen.
There was just one stipulation,
the small group from her church wants to be able to work there the same week as us was the condition.
Truly amazing how God can bring people from Illinois and New York, to meet in Kentucky, Christian sisters and brothers.
As together we love God and serve others.

New to the Church Library

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“Some Small Magic” by Billy Coffey
All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.
When Abel discovers letters to him from the father he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.
With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely on his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman they met on the train.
From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is it the magic that will one day lead him home?

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“You’ll Think of Me” by Robin Lee Hatcher
In a small town in Idaho's idyllic wine country where the past looms large, can two people realize their individual dreams for the future...together?
Abandoned once too often, Brooklyn Meyers never intended to return to Thunder Creek, Idaho. Her hometown holds too many memories of heartache and rejection. But when her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies and leaves his family home and acreage to her and their ten-year-old daughter Alycia, it's an opportunity to change their lives for the better—a chance Brooklyn can't pass up, for Alycia's sake if not her own.
Derek Johnson, Chad's best friend since boyhood, isn't keen on the return of Brooklyn Meyers to Thunder Creek. He still blames her for leading his friend astray. And now she has ruined his chance to buy the neighboring ten acres that would have allowed him to expand his organic farm. To add insult to injury, Chad's dying request was that Derek become the father to Alycia that Chad never was. How can he keep that promise without also spending time with the girl's mother?

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“Heart on the Line” by Karen Witemyer
Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.
Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

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“Sweetbriar Cottage” by Denise Hunter
Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job and settled at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

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“Unspoken” by Dee Henderson
The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.
She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.
Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter.

VIDEO LIBRARY NEWS
by Brenda Medema

Three new dramas are on our library shelves for you to check out.  These are all very good films and are great additions to our church library.  They will be featured in the “DVD of the Week” in the November bulletins.  Look for them on the library desk each week and later on the DRAMA shelves. 

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GOD’S COMPASS-- A “bold and brave film to applaud”, says Randall Wallace, director of HEAVEN IS FOR REAL.  It stars Karen Abercrombie and T.C. Stallings from WAR ROOM, Robert Amaya from COURAGEOUS, and Erin Bethea from FIREPROOF.  “The night Suzanne Waters retires as a high school principal, she is faced with a wave of personal crises, which quickly turn into blessings.  Trusting in God’s path, her North for her life, she takes in a delinquent boy, Eli, and discovers a miraculous connection that brings her and her son’s family through healing and a renewed faith journey.  God’s Compass confirms that there are no accidents in God’s Kingdom, no chance meetings, no purposeless steps, when we follow God’s NORTH for our lives.”  This DVD includes a free downloadable devotional from Karen Abercrombie, is not rated, and runs 104 minutes.

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SAVED BY GRACE -- “A retired police officer, despondent over a tragic loss, and being estranged from his son, contemplates a dramatic decision which will change his life forever, until he meets a mysterious woman who, through her personal stories, gives him a reason to re-examine what is most important to him.”  This film stars Joey Lawrence and Catalina Rodriguez and includes special features--Behind the Scenes and a music video.  Running time is 83 minutes, and it is not rated.

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THE CASE FOR CHRIST -- “One man’s journey to solve the biggest mystery of all time.  Working to disprove the growing Christian faith of his wife, an investigative journalist chases down the biggest story of all time…with unexpected, life-altering results!  Starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway and Academy Award nominee Robert Forster, THE CASE FOR CHRIST is based on the true-life story of Lee Strobel, author of the best-selling book.  What will be your verdict?” There are several bonus features on this DVD.  It is rated PG and runs 1 hour and 53 minutes.  This is one film you don’t want to miss seeing.

Thank you, veterans!
On Veterans Day, we honor men and women who’ve served and sacrificed in one of America’s armed services.
On November 11, 1918, America and her allies signed a truce with German leaders, ending World War I. In 1919, President Wilson decided the United States should remember with gratitude the end of that war and honor military members by marking Armistice Day, or “truce” day. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day, honoring veterans of every era.
Veterans Day highlights our country’s quest for peace, justice and freedom throughout the world. Followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, pray for unity among all nations and for the day when “nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4, NIV).

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A holiness invasion
“Advent” means “coming,” of course, and the promise of Advent is that what is coming is an unimaginable invasion. The mythology of our age has to do with flying saucers and invasions from outer space, and that is unimaginable enough. But what is upon us now is even more so — a close encounter not of the third kind but of a different kind altogether. An invasion of holiness. That is what Advent is about.
—Frederick Buechner, The Clown in the Belfry

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Bible Quiz
After Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown, bound, into a blazing furnace for refusing to worship false gods, how many men did King Nebuchadnezzar see walking around in the fire?
A. None — they were all dead
B. Three — unbound and unharmed
C. Four — and the fourth looked like a divine being
D. Too many to count
Answer: See Daniel 3:25

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After Mary learned she was pregnant with God’s Son, what relative — also miraculously pregnant — did she go visit?
A. Esther
B. Elizabeth
C. Anne
D. Anna
Answer: See Luke 1:39-40

Our greatest need
If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness and acceptance,
so God sent us a Savior.
—Author unknown

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Christian Symbol
Crown
A crown, of course, symbolizes royal authority. As a Christian symbol it represents both Christ as King of kings (Revelation 17:14, for example) and the eternal life promised to Christ’s followers: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

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Branch (Tree) of Jesse
Isaiah used the image of a new tree growing from what appears dead to foretell God’s redemption of Israel: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1, NIV). During Advent, this prophecy assures us of the coming of the Messiah, descended from King David, and thus his father, Jesse.

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Greatest worth
He came a babe of lowly birth.
He was God’s Son of greatest worth.
We, like the angels, sing with mirth
because God sent his Son to earth
to ransom us and claim our worth.
Praise God this babe of lowly birth!
—MaryAnn Sundby  

Everlasting joy
In a Chicken Soup for the Soul sampler, Karen Asire tells of a particularly difficult Christmas after her husband left and began divorce proceedings. As Karen and her three young children set up their tree, she fought tears and secretly tucked aside certain ornaments, such as one announcing “Our First Christmas Together.”
Several days later, a neighbor stopped by with a gold decoration proclaiming JOY. “We’ve hung this ornament on our tree for several years,” she explained, “but this year we wanted you to have it.” When Asire hung it on the tree and stepped back, “all the other ornaments seemed to fade into the background, and all [she] saw was the shimmering gold of the JOY ornament.” She allowed herself to cry then, grateful for the reminder that amid grief and heartache, God’s love shines.
Pain fades in time, while God’s Christmas gift — Jesus — brings joy that lasts forever.

The giver
Many Christian families struggle with what role — if any — Santa Claus should play in their Christmas celebrations. No matter what you decide, it’s fascinating to know the history of the real-life St. Nicholas.
Born about 270 A.D., Nicholas was a bishop in Myra, or modern-day Turkey. In the year 325, he was part of the Council of Nicaea, which produced the Nicene Creed.
Nicholas, known for his generosity, often gave away his money anonymously. According to tradition, he secretly provided dowries for the three daughters of a bankrupt merchant. Nicholas threw two bags of gold through open windows and placed the third in a stocking hanging by the fireplace to dry. Thus began the Christmas tradition of placing gifts in stockings.
St. Nicholas is quoted as saying, “The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”