From Pastor Don
Moving from Pastor to Friend
I hope that you are as encouraged and excited as I am about the arrival of Pastor Karen Muntzing as the next lead pastor of Christ Church. I have the advantage of knowing Karen and her gifts for ministry. You will soon come to know how fortunate we are to have her in your midst.
Please know that I am working (along with Pastor Cheryl, Beth Ann, and SPRC) with Karen to make her transition to Christ Church as smooth as possible. We met, recently, at the Busy Bee for lunch!! If she had any reservations about coming to Marietta before that meal . . . they quickly evaporated.
As Karen prepares to lead, I am preparing to leave. It is important that you know that retirement was my decision. After twelve years (as associate & lead pastor) I felt that it was time to go. Even so, it is not an easy process. There is a sense of sadness and of disappointment. I have never felt worthy of any church or churches that I have been appointed to serve. I have to trust that God’s grace is able to make up for my shortcomings.
It has been a joy to work with our wonderful staff, leaders, and volunteers. I am continually blessed by the caring nature of this congregation! Christ Church is a great place to worship, learn, and serve.
At this point, I do not know what I will be doing next. I am seeking employment in the Marietta area. There is a possibility that I may serve (part-time) as a pastor . . . somewhere. I covet your prayers around this uncertainty. Sandy and I will continue to live at our current residence and Sandy will remain with the Bureau of Fiscal Services.
After my retirement I will no longer be your pastor. I hope to be your friend and fellow disciple. . .not your pastor. This means that we will no longer worship at Christ Church. It also means that I will not return for weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. This may sound harsh, but it is important to recognize that God has provided a very gifted and qualified person to provide pastoral care. We will see one another around town, at various local events, and Tim Hortons. We can talk and catch up . . . but as friends. We can certainly continue to pray for one another.
Finally, I want to thank you for the many ways that you have shown your support for me and for Sandy. Thank you for loving us, befriending us, and praying for us. I am a better person as a result of my time with you. I hope that, in some way, God has worked through me to bless your journey of faith.
I look forward to seeing you on June 2nd at the combined 10 a.m. worship service.
Grace and Peace,
Celebrating Pastor Don and Sandy
Sunday, June 2nd will be Pastor Don’s last Sunday with us. We will hold one combined service at 10 a.m. Pastor Don plans a short sermon and the service of Holy Communion. Afterward we will hold a reception in honor of Don and Sandy. Together we will celebrate Don and Sandy’s ministry and all that God has done in our lives through them.
You should have received an email outlining ways you can participate in this celebration. Copies of this information is available upon request from our church staff or in the church office. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this transition time, please refer them to Beth Ann (740-373-1512) and she will forward them to whoever can answer them best.
West Ohio Annual Conference
Sunday, June 2nd, through Thursday, June 6th
Each year all clergy members and selected lay members from local churches within The West Ohio Conference attend this event to meet together to worship, fellowship, and conduct the business of the conference. During these sessions, members of the conference hear reports of past and ongoing work; adopt future goals, programs and budgets; and ordain clergy members as deacons and elders. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer presides over these meetings and will convene the annual conference on Sunday at 7:30 pm prior to the start of opening worship. This year’s theme is “Be Not Afraid…There Is Hope”.
Please be in prayer for our delegates: Ernie & Nina Gath, Jan Whitney, Sherrie Hoffman, Russ & Jennifer Garrison, and Pastor Cheryl. Also keep all the clergy and lay delegates in your prayers, for unity, for wisdom, for direction.
From Pastor Cheryl
As I write this, I’m looking at a photo of 9 happy kids. They’re all smiles—and if today is like our typical last day of After School, we’ll see mainly smiles but also a few tears. Thanks to everyone who has ever participated in this ministry! To date, we’ve enrolled at least 180 different children from 138 different families, and we’ve used 116 different volunteers (including 29 youth). I still remember Pastor Don’s sermon when he said that his communion every week was walking the After School kids to the church on Wednesdays. Soon, we will be saying goodbye to Don and Sandy and hello to Pastor Karen and Brook. There will be smiles and tears all around. Let’s use our remaining time together to celebrate all the ways we’ve communed with Don and Sandy in the past, as we also look forward to what the future will bring.
Here’s what’s new with some of our ministries. . .
Derek Duckworth spoke at our Easter Sunrise Service and music was provided by 11 members of the Marietta Community Ukulele Choir. Even though we never saw the sun, we celebrated the SON with around 100 people on the Ohio River levee. Thanks to all of you who attended and made this possible.
Our Lenten study on 40 Days of Doubt has concluded and now Thursday Brown Bag studies will resume a TED talks format on May 9th at noon in our Fellowship Hall. If you haven’t attended our TED sessions, come give them a try. We view talks that are typically 20 minutes or less in length and then spend our remaining time in discussion. It’s a great way to learn something new while getting to better know one another.
Christ Cares and Extended Table, our visitation and lay communion teams, will hold their joint Spring meeting on Sunday, May 12 at 9:15 in Cheryl’s office. We’ll share our experiences and discuss how the pastoral transition might affect these ministries. If these are ministries you’ve considered, feel free to join us!
Want to join with others in serving God but don’t know where to start? Is there something else that you’re passionate about but don’t know how to begin? Get in touch and we’ll try to help.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
The church will be honoring four seniors with a breakfast on Sunday, May 26th.
- Derek Duckworth
- Jodan Weber
- Sophia Staudt
- Lucas McVicar
When you see these four, be sure to wish them “Best of Luck” on their next journey in life.
Teacher Appreciation Sunday
Sunday, June 9th
Summer Special Music
During the summer months our Sanctuary Choir takes a well deserved break. We use this time to allow other folks to share their musical gifts in worship, whether it be vocal, instrumental, or musical ensemble. To participate, you must be available for both the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services. Accompanists are available upon request.
If you would like to serve the congregation in this manner, our music director, Beth Payton will be scheduling Sundays from Memorial Day through early September. Please schedule early as available dates are on a first-come first-serve basis.
From Our Minister of Health
Advocate for the journey
For a number of years I have written articles for this congregation on the value and the importance of having a health advocate. Whether it’s at a doctor’s appointment or during a hospitalization, your advocate is your champion, supporter, protector and a second set of ears. On January 5th of this year, that term became very personal.
Our twenty year old grandson and his girlfriend, Ali, had driven to Ohio to spend time with his aunt in Columbus and then head south to Marietta to see us. (Cameron is our son’s oldest and a student at University of Missouri). When Cameron woke up the next day he complained of leg pain so severe that they went to the Mt. Carmel ER. The leg pain was caused by a blood clot, but the more horrific lab results showed that Cameron had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was immediately transferred to the James Cancer center that night to await the start of chemotherapy while his mom, dad, and brother drove through the night from their home in southern Missouri to meet us there.
Thus started six weeks of intense treatment until he could be transferred to the Washington University hospitals in St. Louis, closer to home, to continue further treatment. As I write this, Cameron is recovering from another round of chemotherapy as he awaits a bone marrow transplant on May 21st. This procedure allows someone with leukemia to re-establish healthy bone marrow by replacing theirs with leukemia-free marrow from a healthy person. A bone marrow transplant begins with high doses of radiation to destroy any leukemia – producing marrow which is then replaced by marrow from a compatible donor. We are thankful for the donor, someone we don’t even know, who is willing to share this life-giving tissue with him. Cameron is a healthy young man otherwise and we pray that this transplant is the answer.
Through this four month journey, our son has been by his side – his caregiver, his advocate, his champion, with a few breaks as Ali’s college schedule allows. (His mom and brother are at home in southern Missouri trying to carry on with some normalcy of a routine).
I worry about the toll this is taking on our son’s well-being. My offers to sub as Cameron’s advocate so far have been refused which I understand and accept. We are thankful for his daily calls and texts with updates. We of course don’t know what the next months will hold for Cameron, but one thing I do know is that his dad will be right there with him on the journey.
As I watch our son care for his son, I am reminded of the love and concern that our God has for all of us. God never promised a perfect journey, but God does love us, comes near to us, cares for us and will be with us on our journey wherever that takes us.
Throwback Thursday VBS
On Wednesdays: June 26, July 24, August 14
Come join us this summer for an all-generation VBS full of fun! Once a month we’ll meet on a Wednesday evening, starting off with a potluck dinner. Then all ages will travel down memory lane and enjoy activities from past Vacation Bible programs. We will sing the “oldies but goodies” VBS songs; and, yes! have the famous VBS bread!!! If you would like to help or have some past VBS memories to share, please contact Laura Warren.
Grace Children’s Hospital Update
ICC Responds to Economic Crisis in Haiti by Liz Willding, ICC Board Member
Thanks to your generous giving during our Lenten and Easter offerings, we have raised $3,307 for Grace Children’s Hospital. Below is the latest news from the ICC (International Child Care) Spring 2019 newsletter. This article describes how the need is greater than ever in Haiti. Please keep ICC, Grace Children’s Hospital, and the country of Haiti in your prayers. – Beth Ann Weber
No stranger to disasters, the resiliency of the Haitian people is truly inspiring. Yet again they are facing a huge challenge to their very survival. Having weathered so many natural disasters over the last decades, Haiti now faces an unprecedented economic inflation crisis which is impacting all citizens as the cost of basic items such as food and fuel spiral out of control.
According to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) calculated by the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Informatics (IHSI), Haiti’s overall monthly inflation rate in February 2019 accelerated up sharply, reaching 17.0% versus 11.0% in February 2018, due in particular to the rising price of food, clothing, fuel and other household items (all up approximately 20.0% over 2018), as well a 33.8% increase in health care drugs and a 16.7% increase in glasses and hospitalization costs.
To conceptualize the impact on families, consider that a medium size bag of rice went up 200 gourdes ($2.38 USD), with a gallon of gas approximately $3.00. When the government attempted to sharply increase the price of fuel earlier this year, this triggered widespread protests throughout the country. With the average annual income of most Haitians estimated at just $1,800 (USD), the escalating prices are clearly beyond the reach of the vast majority of people, resulting in widespread hardship and hunger. This level of inflation continues without a clear end in sight, resulting ongoing social unrest and severe economic constraints.
Grace Children’s Hospital has felt the impact, with many of its own staff being challenged to feed themselves and their families. Higher prices have also made it challenging to operate the facility and provide meals for inpatients and staff.
To offset this crisis, International Child Care provided emergency funds in February, doubling our monthly contribution with an additional $15,000 to help relieve the current financial burden. According to National Director Josette Bijou, M.D., the additional dollars provided:
- Emergency funds of 2000 and 3000 gourdes each ($23.94-35.91 USD) for 206 employees, which were used for transportation fees.
- $8000 USD to buy food stamps from Delimart and Ginat Market which were also distributed to the staff.
The balance was used to buy:
- Six trucks of water for the hospital
- Fuel for the ambulance
- Oxygen tanks for the inpatients
- Propane gas for the kitchen
- Food products for the inpatients
These emergency funds were critical in February during the height of the crisis, enabling GCH to provide uninterrupted care. From January to March, the staff maintained its high level of service, which included:
- 11,601 patients seen in outpatient clinics
- 9,432 lab procedures
- 618 x-rays
- 1,444 vaccinations
It’s unclear how long the current economic conditions will persist. Your donations have and will make a huge difference.