Enjoy our monthly Newsletter
Enjoy our monthly Newsletter
At our session meeting last month, I shared with the members some rather gloomy statistics that reflect the despair that haunts the lives of so many in our world today. According to a 2019 Reuters Health report on a nationwide study, “suicidal thinking, severe depression and rates of self-injury among U.S. college students more than doubled over less than a decade.”
Nor does this disturbing trend appear to be confined to young Americans. According to an article that appeared in the City Journal in 2019: “Loneliness, public-health experts tell us, is killing as many people as obesity and smoking. … Germans are lonely, the bon vivant French are lonely, and even the Scandinavians—the happiest people in the world, according to the U.N.’s World Happiness Report—are lonely, too. British prime minister Theresa May recently appointed a ‘Minister of Loneliness….’ And consider Japan, a country now in the throes of an epidemic of kodokushi, roughly translated as ‘lonely deaths.’”
For good reason the epidemic of loneliness and despair that is ravaging lives today has received widespread attention in recent years. Analysts have put forward a number of explanations to account for its startling rise. But regardless of which among them seems most plausible, the important question for us as the church is how we are to respond to this social pathology.
Above all we must reaffirm our conviction that it is not God’s will that people should be lonely. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher tells us that “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” (4:9-11). And the Psalmist tells us that God sets the lonely in families (68:6).
God’s will for human togetherness is expressed most clearly in Jesus Christ. We have in Christ one who is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters, so that we all belong to the same family (cf. Hebrews 2:11). Indeed, his relationship with us is so close that the New Testament does not hesitate to call us members of his body. And if we are all members of his body, then we are members of one another. The members of the body of Christ are to have mutual concern for one another: “if one part suffers, then all suffer with it. If one part is honored, then all are honored with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25, 26).
The most potent antidote to the disease of loneliness is to be found in the church. Our love for one another will make an impression on all the lonely people. And we can care for them too through awareness and hospitality. The early church distinguished itself in the Roman world by the hospitality it extended to the stranger. And if the statistics are accurate, then it is likely that the stranger among us today is lonely. Let us then look for opportunities to reach out to him or her and display in our own actions God’s will for human togetherness.
We’re here to help
These minutes are of the December 17, 2019 meeting.
The Declaration of Intent to Support the Mission of the Presbytery, Synod and the PC (USA) was completed. The session voted to approve $200 for shared mission for 2020.
The church’s per capita statement was received, which is based on 69 active members as of December 31, 2018 and the rate of $35.20 (General Assembly $8.95, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of Lake Michigan $23) per active member. Our total is $2,428.80. It is due to the presbytery in full by January 20, 2020 and will be paid in full.
The November 28, 2019 death of member #535, Alta Beryl Bishop, was recorded in the official record book. On December 7, 2019, her funeral/celebration of life was held in the church sanctuary with Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn officiating. Her family catered a luncheon in the fellowship hall.
During the worship service on December 15, 2019, Pastor Chris baptized Jacob Rook VanSyckle, who was born March 24, 2019 in Lansing. His parents are Tyler James VanSyckle and Kelly Anne (Stephen) VanSyckle.
Pastor Chris will be on vacation Sundays March 1, and March 8, 2020. He is in the process of arranging pulpit supply. He has arranged Rev. James Thomson, a retired United Methodist minister to fill the pulpit on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. He will be attending a conference.
The church’s website is in the process of posting the manuscripts of Pastor Chris’ sermons. We are also exploring how the church can record his sermons for upload onto the web- site.
A motion was made, seconded and approved to hold a Family Night January 14, 2020 from 5:30PM-7PM in the fellowship hall. To fund this event, which will include a simple meal (winter picnic) three individuals volunteered $50 each. The kids have been requesting this event.
Lee Hunsberger, Co-Chairperson, of the Budget and Finance Committee reported through November the income has been $83,630 and the expenses have been $62,086 for a positive cash flow of $21,545.00. The Presbytery minimum compensation for a pastor increased to $46,569.00. The proposed 2020 budget reflects an increase for the minis- ter to the minimum of $23,285 for twenty hours a week. The proposed budget projects a deficit of $21,296 for 2020. The deficit will be covered by a combination of general fund CD’s maturing in August; any shortfalls prior to August will be covered by money market funds. A motion passed to approve the proposed 2020 budget. A motion passed to purchase a depository safe for the administrative office.
The Membership and Care Committee reviewed the active rolls. The committee did not recommend placing any members on the inactive rolls. The Prayer Chain was updated.
The next meeting is January 21, 2020 at 7:00PM.
Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session
FYI. I wanted to provide an update on our plastic bottle cap collection for our friend Carter from Saranac. He has been saving the caps to re- cycle in order to make a bench. Each one takes 250 pounds to make. He has collected almost enough to complete one bench and is excited for our help with this school project. His mother, Amy told me he is having a great time doing this and wishes to continue in hopes of collecting enough to make another bench. KEEP SAVING YOUR CAPS.
The Ladies’ Bible/Book study resumed Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00 P.M. lat the home of Carol and Lew Campbell, 151 Foxtail Drive. We will be using the book “what’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian?” (A Guide to What Matters Most) by Martin Thielen, a Methodist pastor. Please sign up on the sheet in the fellowship area with your contact information so books can be ordered. All women are invited to join this study and fellowship time whether or not you have been part of the group previously. Questions? Contact Carol Campbell, 419-937-5754.
With the beginning of a new year, it is time to once again pay our per capita to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. For 2020, the per capita for each active member is $35.20 (General Assembly $8.95, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of Lake Michigan $23). Along with each church’s shared mission pledge, the per capita finances the General Assembly, the Synod of the Covenant and our Lake Michigan Presbytery. For 2020, our total is $2,428.80. This is based on 69 active member as of 12/31/18 and is due January 20, 2020. As in the past, the Budget and Finance Committee is always very appreciative of members paying their own per capita. If you are able to pay your own per capita, please indicate your $35.20 is for your per capita. Thank you very much.
Last year Living Waters for the World reached a new milestone—1,000 water partnerships. Twenty-six countries are represented with these partnerships. Every dollar helps a community take control of their health and their future through the gift of clean water. Mission offering on February 2nd will go to support our continuing commitment to Living Waters for the World. Prayerfully consider giving.