From Pastor Don
How I Spent My (Spring) and Summer Vacation
During the months of April, May, and June I was privileged to embark on a three month spiritual renewal leave. I am so grateful to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Administrative Board, and our District Superintendent, for approving this time away from congregational ministry.
This would not have been possible without the help of Pastor Cheryl, Beth Ann, and a host of volunteers. Thank you!!
So, let me tell you a little about how I spent my time. Starting April 9th, I began a six week course, offered by Garrett Seminary, entitled: Desert Spirituality. This course explored the prayer lives and spiritual journeys of men and women who sought to devote themselves completely to God and others. We studied the writings and example of St. Benedict. Part of our assignment included developing a Rule of Life. This is simply a means of writing a plan for daily spiritual practices. In order to develop this rule, we had to ask ourselves some tough questions: How often will I pray? When? How will I serve God by serving others? My Rule of Life is still a work in progress. This class required a significant amount of reading and research. I successfully completed the course work on May 18th.
May 14th and 15th were spent at United Theological Seminary in Dayton for the final phase of my training in Intentional Interim Ministry. This is specialized training that we are trying to develop in the West Ohio Conference for congregations that may be in need of short-term healing and/or restructuring ministry.
During the week of May 21st, Sandy and I traveled to Vancouver, BC, for some vacation time. We loved the city and surrounding area. The weather was beautiful and we were able to enjoy some time away.
After the Memorial Day weekend, I began an independent study of the Methodist Class Meeting. Using Kevin Watson’s book and video, The Class Meeting, I gained new insights into the value of small groups for the purpose of strengthening our spiritual lives.
On June 18th I began a two-week course at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The focus of this summer intensive term was spiritual direction. We were challenged to develop our spiritual lives with the help of a trained Spiritual Director. Using the gifts of scripture, prayer, and daily worship, we were encouraged to open our hearts to God’s presence. Part of this process included a one day retreat to the Corhaven Retreat Center. Corhaven is a remote farm location that offers a beautiful setting for reflection and silence. (I spent a significant portion of my time with the donkeys and chickens!) It was a blessing to learn, pray, and worship with people from a variety of faith backgrounds and experiences.
On July 1st, I returned to Christ Church and joined with you in sharing the sacrament of Holy Communion. What a wonderful way to re-enter the work of pastoral ministry.
There are many details of my three month leave that I hope to share with you in the coming weeks and months.
It was good to be away. It is especially good to be back.
Thank you for your prayers and for the gift of renewal.
Grace and Peace,
Our Community Meal: Its Past and Its Future
Born from the vision of our Missions & Outreach Committee, Christ Church began a no-charge, nutritious, hot meal program in 2010. From the start, this meal was home-cooked and hand-served every first Friday in our Fellowship Hall. Fern Frank, Jackie Page, and the late Marilyn Kurtz led the cooking team each month for four years. Food cost was lessened by the early food gleanings of the Harvest of Hope program, but most expenses were covered by church donation.
In 2014, Carol Bir, Sally Hess, and Marya Ott began serving as meal team leaders. A rotation system was instituted where each leader and their team served once every three months or four times a year. Jackie and Fern continue to be an active part of these meal teams. Since 2014, every meal has been recorded: the pounds of food used, the number of people served, the donations received. As years have passed, Harvest of Hope’s food donations grew to play an increasing role.
Today, our meal continues to be served on the first Friday of each month. Folks that walk through the door might need a nutritious meal, the companionship of others, or help stretching their food budget. Christ Church is one of several groups in the community, scheduled throughout the month, working together to meet these needs. Outside our church office hangs a poster listing the local meal locations. Its many pin holes are a testament to how often we take down that poster to copy it for folks who need this ministry.
As with any large ministry, it takes effort and commitment from each of you. Maybe your role is financial support, prayer, joining a meal team, showing up with intention to share a meal with someone new. Could your role be a team leader? Without leadership and without your support, ministries cannot continue…including this ministry, our monthly community meal.
Team leaders work together to choose a year’s worth of menus and the rotation schedule. Thankfully, those years of menus and records take the guess work out of planning. Each leader works with Harvest of Hope in advance to ensure their needed meat is part of that month’s delivery. The week of the meal, a team leader’s involvement might look something like this:
- Meet the Harvest of Hope truck for Tuesday’s delivery.
- Shop for any needed ingredients.
- Wednesday – partial team chops and preps.
- Thursday – partial team cooks.
- Friday – full team sets-up, serves, cleans-up.
If you are interested in helping with our community meal, especially as a team leader, please contact Sally Hess (740-373-5350) or Bob First (740-374-2810). To give financially toward this ministry, place your gift marked “free meal” in any offering.
Update on the Elevator
The Trustees want to thank you for your patience during the last few years as we dealt with an often-unusable elevator. It took work with several elevator repair companies to get the elevator operational. Replacements include the hydraulic plunger, the conduit for electrical wiring in the elevator shaft, the sump pump at the bottom of the shaft, plus we added an alarm to indicate when the sump pump is malfunctioning. Cost of all these repairs has been $25,236. Trustees have funds separate from the church, so contributions made to the Trustees in the past few years helped us cover these elevator costs. Many thanks for your support and understanding as we work hard to care for our facilities.
Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti
Thank you for your support of Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti! Together we have raised $3,045.24, 100% of which was given to this ministry through UMCOR. See the Missions Bulletin Board in the Narthex to read the handwritten thank you note from the ICC USA Board. International Child Care, as of late 2017, no longer has offices in the United States. In hopes to send every dollar to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the ICC Board now meets at First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas, and handles all ICC business as volunteers. The down-side of this change is lack of communication. There has not been a newsletter in over a year, emails go without reply, and there is no timely news from the hospital in Haiti. Thankfully there has been some posting on Facebook which I will share below.
In mid-March, ICC Board member Ellen L. Palmer, PhD RN, led a small team to Grace Children’s Hospital and the Jolitrou Clinic. At GCH, the team spent two days in the sim lab certifying nurses and health workers to be CPR trainers. At the clinic, 19 community health workers were trained in adult, child, and infant choking and CPR. The three river crossings required for this trip were described as “exciting”.
In early July, a small ICC team returned to Haiti to open a sim lab in neighboring King’s Hospital, founded by Dr. Junie Hyacinthe, diaconal Methodist Minister of a downtown Port au Prince Methodist Church. The First UMC UMW of Mickinney, TX, provided the new sim lab with infant CPR manikins, two MamaNatalies that simulate birth, a more complex birthing simulator called Prompt Flex, and an adult male IV training arm. Just like Grace Children’s Hospital, Kings Hospital has an on-site orphanage for abandoned children. Three bags of sewing fabric for the children was highly celebrated. While in Haiti, the team also taught at Grace Children’s Hospital and the Clinic Siloe (eye clinic) at Petit Goave.
I pray that the need in Haiti presses upon your heart as it does mine. Our US dollar can do so much good in the lives of impoverished families living on $2.50 or less per day. I hope you’ll consider making Grace Children’s Hospital a regular part of your giving plan. Any gift given through Christ Church will be processed through UMCOR so that you can know 100% of your dollar is benefiting the health care needs of precious lives in Haiti.
Beth Ann Weber
Cathedral Handbell Choir
Christ Church has a rich history of bell ringing which started with the purchase of the first two octaves of bells in 1964. We now own four octaves of handbells and four octaves of handchimes. We borrow a fifth octave of bells to round out our set, which gives us the beautiful lower bass sound and the bright, high pitches to top off the melody.
If you are interested in joining our handbell choir, now is the time to ask questions and express interest! All are welcome, regardless of experience level. Contact Beth Payton as soon as possible. Due to the nature of a handbell choir, having a firm commitment helps us know how many octaves we can play and plan the season (Sept-May) accurately.
This group practices on Wednesdays 7-8 p.m., early fall to early spring, and rings in worship one Sunday a month at both services. They also participate in the area Annual Spring Ring and regional festivals on occasion. If you cannot commit to a full-time spot, being available as a substitute is also a great help.
Fall Walks to Emmaus
- Men’s Walk: Oct. 4-7
- Women’s Walk: Oct. 11-14
The Walk to Emmaus is a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual retreat focused on Christian discipleship. Walks occur two times per year for men and women, ages 18 and above. If you have not attended a Walk to Emmaus, but would like to or would like more information, speak with Pastor Don or Pastor Cheryl, visit the Walk to Emmaus website, and view the video below.
Attending a Walk to Emmaus requires sponsorship by a prior attendee. There are many within our congregation who would love to sponsor you for this meaningful experience.
From Pastor Cheryl
Every August and November, for more years than I can recall now, Christ Church leads worship in a local nursing facility on Sunday afternoons. Yes, it makes for a long day when you’ve already been at church that morning. But for me, it’s a reminder of how blessed I am—to have my health and mobility, and to be able to worship in my church building—and an opportunity to be blessed by the people at the Marietta Center (August) and The Arbors (November). My favorite part is always when the residents spontaneously begin singing the hymns I play before the service begins at 2:00. If you are interested in leading worship or assisting on one of these Sundays in this brief service of music, prayer, scripture and a devotional, please let us know.
Here’s some upcoming highlights in our lay ministries…
How would you respond if someone collapsed at church? As part of our Safe Sanctuary policy, we are all encouraged to learn/review basic first-aid and current CPR/AED rescue techniques. Alicia Warren, RN, will lead a make-up CPR/AED review session during Sunday School (9:15-10:15) on August 19th for those who missed her earlier session in June. This training is especially appropriate for volunteers working in any of our group ministries, ushers, members of small groups and team leaders. All are welcome!
Safe Sanctuary training will be held during Sunday School (9:15-10:15 AM) on August 26th in the Fellowship Hall after Donut Time. This pastor-led training is required annually by our West Ohio Conference for all of our staff and church volunteers 18 years and older who work with minors. Please plan to attend if you assist with our Children’s/Youth Sunday School, Children’s Church, After School, Youth Group, or Vacation Bible School ministries. A make-up session will be Sunday, September 2nd, from 11:30-12:30 (after late worship).
Laity Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday, September 2nd. Come early to worship to see the slide show of this past year at Christ and be sure to come down to Fellowship Hall for refreshments and sharing time between services.
Rally Day, the traditional Sunday School programming kick-off in the United Methodist Church, is the Sunday following the Sternwheeler Festival, September 16th. Children and Youth will begin regular classes this day; Adults will meet in Fellowship Hall after Donut Time to learn about the various classes being offered this fall. Class leaders/facilitators will be asked to give a short overview of what they will be studying.
On September 27th, our Thursday Noon Brown Bag classes will begin a new study. Bring your lunch and join us as we explore Adam Hamilton’s book Unafraid in a 5-week series.
Christ Cares and Extended Table, our visitation and lay communion ministry teams, are always looking for new members. If you are interested in this challenging and rewarding ministry, please talk with me and plan to attend our joint Fall meeting in early October.
Junior Choir for grades K-7 will begin rehearsing in mid-September at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday in the Junior Church/Junior Choir Room. The practices last 20 minutes each week. The children sing once a month during the regular worship services and at special times during the church year: Palm Sunday, Christmas Eve, Mother’s Day. Be watching for more details! Directed by Norma Dennis and accompanied by Nondyce Gulick.
Brown Bag Study Update
As the summer winds down, join us any Thursday at noon in the Fellowship Hall. We are exploring Ted Talks in relation to our faith journey. No materials required, no homework, just show up when you can!
On Thursday, Sept. 27th, we will return to a book format studying Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times by Adam Hamilton. This five-week study explores the worries and fears most of us experience. We’ll cover practical steps for overcoming them…all in the light of Scripture and faith.
From Our Minister of Health
What If . . .
My dad died almost twenty years ago of the complications of pulmonary disease. A friend, who is a long time member of this congregation, reminded me that dad could not wait till the church service was over to get outside to light his pipe—-oh, how he loved that pipe. He spent the last year of his life in and out of the hospital and a nursing home when he could have lived out this time in the comfort and familiar surroundings of home. When I would ask, “Is it time for hospice?” none of his doctors were willing to commit, and so he died in the clinical setting of the hospital one night.
Contrast that story to my mom’s death just five years ago where hospice was involved. Her final days were in her own bed in her apartment at The Pines, surrounded by people she knew, volunteers and staff that cared for her, and with her beloved cat by her side. You hope that life is not filled with “what ifs”, but if I had it to do over in my dad’s situation, I would have insisted, and said “Yes, it is time to bring in hospice.” These life experiences are why I am such a strong supporter of the hospice concept.
Hospice health care provides physical, emotional, and spiritual support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones . At a recent meeting with the volunteer coordinator of our local hospice organization, I was reminded that although many associate the word hospice with cancer, many of their current patients today are dealing with advanced heart disease, Alzheimers, or other life-limiting diseases.
As you can see from my dad’s story, often the tyranny of the moment prevents those valuable next steps from happening. The best time to have hospice discussions is before anyone has a major illness. While these topics about end of life issues may feel awkward to discuss, these valuable family decisions far outweigh the uncomfortable nature of the discussion. Another issue that often interferes is the misunderstanding that hospice means giving up or that there is no hope. The focus of hospice is on quality of life, not on cure, but on relieving symptoms like pain, nausea and fatigue. Looking at the overall affect of a patient’s environment on their care is a vital aspect of the hospice experience. For a patient nearing end of life, often their world has very much shrunk, maybe including no more than their bed and the few things around them.
This is one reason I feel so strongly about our hospice flower ministry. Studies done by Cleveland Clinic have shown that flowers in the patient’s environment reduce the burden of the disease process. Flowers add something special to that shrinking world. Flowers have also been shown to unlock an exchange of memories among patients, family members and the hospice staff. The bouquets our church has provided for over six years are delivered to local hospice patients by their nurses, their chaplain or sometimes volunteers with wonderful stories about how much the gift is appreciated. Let us celebrate these small acts of kindness that assist in the quality of life of others.
Hygiene Kit Success
The Missions & Outreach Committee reports that over 150 hygiene kits were collected for our local food pantry. These kits were an immediate success at the pantry. Clients will often ask for shampoo, toothpaste, or other hygiene supplies because these items are not covered by food assistance. The pantry is rarely able to fulfill these requests because of their limited resources. So, thank you! Thank you for meeting a real need in our community!
Due to this success and the overwhelming need, the committee plans to do another hygiene kit drive starting sometime in the fall. Stay tuned for the details and watch for the hamper to appear in the Narthex. Thank you, Christ Church family, for all you do to share God’s love!
Upcoming Events for UMW
As a former teacher, September always meant lesson plans, room decorating, and buying school supplies. I still look longingly at 25-cent notebooks and Sharpies and pencils! However, it is also a time to consider developing supportive fellowship by meeting with other Methodist women. United Methodist Women will soon celebrate 150 years of service of global ministries and being “a community of women whose Purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ.” What a wonderful group of which to be a member!!
The two circles available at our church are the Rebecca-Ruth Circle, which meets the third Thursday of the month at 12:30, and the Mary Circle, which meets the fourth Tuesday in the evening. The first meeting of the Rebecca-Ruth Circle will be Thursday, September 20, at the home of Nancy Burkhart. Mary Circle’s first meeting is scheduled for September 25 at Carol Bir’s home at 6:00. It is a potluck and an organizational meeting.
There will be some wonderful Foothills District meetings this fall also. We generally car pool and have a fun time both in the car and at the meeting! The first district meeting will be in Belpre at Rockland United Methodist Church on September 29. It runs from 10:00 to 3:00 and includes lunch; the cost is $10. The focus will be Eclipse Poverty: Red Bird Mission’s Efforts to Block the Effects of Poverty. The Red Bird Mission website states, “Red Bird Mission, Inc. and Red Bird Clinic, Inc. have been providing ministries in this region of the Appalachian Mountains (Kentucky) since 1921. Today the need remains critical in this isolated, rural distressed area. Chronic poverty, lack of jobs, poor housing, and rugged mountainous terrain provide obstacles to a fuller life for the residents of this area. Red Bird Mission and Clinic strives to meet these needs through ministry in five areas: Education, Health and Wellness, Community Outreach, Economic Opportunity, and Community Housing Improvement.” You can read more about this inspiring mission on their website and make plans to attend the meeting. It will be a wonderful way for you to decide if you like going with us – it’s only to Belpre!
There will be an Annual Celebration on Saturday, October 20, at the Crossroads Event Center in Lancaster, Ohio; the cost is $15. The topic of the meeting is Sacred Creation, Sacred Work: Our Meeting Place with God. Again, the meeting runs from 10:00 to 3:00 and includes lunch. More information concerning both these gatherings will be in the newsletter as the dates draw closer, but you need to pencil them into your schedule now. They are truly worthy, inspiring, fun events to attend.
If you have questions concerning the purpose or activities of United Methodist Women, please contact me for a chat. I love talking about an organization in which I so firmly believe to be of great value. I’ll even provide a 25-cent notebook and pencil so you may take notes!! Look forward to talking with you!!
Mentor an International College Student
Suzanne Deitz, coordinator of International Friendships at Marietta College, is looking for mentor families or individuals for the 2018-2019 academic year.
This is a unique opportunity to provide support and hospitality to an international student, help them adjust to our culture, and give Christian love in a tangible way. The time invested is not extensive as these young adults are very busy with their studies. The most common ways mentors interact with their student is through invitations to holiday celebrations, a home cooked meal, or even an invitation to church.
Most of our Marietta College international students are not Christian, but they are curious and enjoy learning about our culture. If you are interested, call Suzanne at 304-488-1119 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will walk you through the application process.
Our Sanctuary Choir is open to anyone 8th grade and up who loves to sing, no auditions necessary! Rehearsals are Thursdays 7:00-8:30 p.m. and the choir sings at the 10:30 service from Rally Day through May. Rehearsals will begin in early September, watch the bulletin and weekly updates for details. This group comes together to share their musical gifts & talents, to lead worship, to fellowship, and to pray for one another. If you are looking for a place to “plug-in” and connect within the church, come see what it’s all about. For any questions, please contact Beth Payton at email@example.com.