Friday, November 28, 2014

Advent Decorating Reminder

Remember, tomorrow is the day we decorate the church for the joyous Advent season.  We will start at 9:00 am in Swain Hall, but show up whenever you can.  Many of the jobs (unpacking decorations, straightening the ribbons on wreaths) can be done sitting down, so don't worry if you can't climb a ladder; we can use all the help we can get.  If you've participated before, you know that the day always includes a lot of fun and fellowship, plus a great lunch.  Please come and help us prepare the church for Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chancel Flower Thanks

Thank you to everyone who signed up to provide flowers in the Sanctuary this year! Because of your generosity, the worship services for the rest of the year have all been provided for.

In addition to contributing to Sunday worship, these flowers are distributed to members of the congregation who are ill or shut-in. Your contributions to this important ministry are greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Renting or Owning?

Slang – don’t you love it?  Sometimes it’s incomprehensible to everyone past their teens, but occasionally it expresses a concept better than a long, reasoned argument will.  Take the phrase “owning it.”  Until a few years ago, if you owned something – your house, your car, your dog –you possessed the item.  Now, though, the Urban Dictionary says that to own it is “[t]aking pride in what you got.”

Let’s pass over the fact that the definition should read “…in what you have” and think about the concept.  Owning it in this sense doesn’t just apply to real estate and personal property.  Students passing a difficult test with flying colors say they owned it.  Women trying an attractive new personal style are told to own it.  Psychologists exhort patients to own themselves.  To make a short story long, owning it in these contexts means something like: “You possess this [item, characteristic, personal triumph], and worked hard to do that, and because you did, you should be very proud of it and of yourself.”  (Whew.  Own it is a lot easier.)

What does this have to do with us?  Well, author Perry Noble lists this as one of the 10 most important characteristics of growing churches:

The people in the church are OWNERS, not merely “members.” Members have rights, owners have responsibilities. The people in these churches understand that it is not the pastor’s job to minister to the people but rather the body’s job to minister to the body! And as a result people serve Jesus by serving others ...

Last year our church held its first Appreciative Inquiry summit to talk about church growth.  During the planning sessions, however, our focus changed, and we talked instead about how to revitalize our church.

What’s the difference?  Well, growth is mainly about adding warm bodies.  Revitalization, on the other hand, includes growth, but also covers increased participation on every level by existing members.  It’s about MORE – more giving, more sharing, more excitement, more love.  More of the things that we appreciate about our church.  More ownership.

The church’s 50th anniversary celebration was the first step in this process.  The anniversary worship service, the ice cream social, and the gala dinner all exceeded our expectations and opened up new discussions about our future.  Hosting the Presbytery meeting this spring led to a renewed dedication to maintaining our physical plant.  The ongoing capital improvement project has lifted our spirits as the new paint has been applied, the plumbing and air conditioning issues have been resolved, and new plantings have gone in.  All these things demonstrate what Dr. Miki Kashtan calls “the long arc of commitment.” 

Let’s keep that arc on its trajectory.  This fall, attend a group meeting you wouldn’t ordinarily go to, buy an extra memorial brick for the courtyard, ask a neighbor or friend to come with you to a fellowship dinner or a worship service.  Let’s prove that we’re not just members of this church – we own it!
~Beth Mabee

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Prayer Shawl Ministry in November

This ministry appreciates the support of our congregation.  We thank you for your contributions for us to buy yarn.

This month we delivered 73 pieces to the Airman's Attic and 71 pieces to Hospice.  Now we are intent on increasing our supply for our own fellowship needs.

We are now meeting every Monday at 9:30 am in Annex 3. Come crochet or knit with us.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fireside Room Update

During the Appreciating our Campus summit this summer, a suggestion that the Fireside Room be updated was greeted with general applause, and changes to make it more comfortable and versatile are underway. So far the fireplace “bumpout” has been painted and our copy of Salvador Dali’s Crucifixion hung over the fireplace itself. Existing furniture has also been arranged in front of the fireplace in a conversational grouping

The next big change: adding groups of small tables and chairs that can be used for bridge, meetings, and social events The tables have been purchased new; the chairs will be moved from Annex 3 and reupholstered to increase their comfort. The beautiful large table already in place, donated by Evelyn Haas in memory of her husband, will anchor one end of the room and function as a serving or display area.

We are fortunate that the church already owned the artwork, brass accent pieces, and most of the furniture used in this transformation. Designated donations have enabled us to add the new tables, reupholster the chairs (fabric sample, right), and buy attractive accent greenery to finish everything off.

We hope these changes will trigger increased use of the room for small group meetings of all kinds. The work will not be 100% done until the interior painting is completed this spring, but the upholstery work should be finished and the room ready for use well before that!