The Bake Sale Returns

The Annual PW Bake Sale returns! Need a pie, cake, rolls, or a selection of other baked goods for your Thanksgiving feast? Stop by on Saturday, Nov. 19th and pick up some delicious treats while helping our Presbyterian Women fund their mission campaigns! We’ll see you there!!!!

Go Forth In Peace

The words of Isaiah 55 convey a profound message to us during A Season of Peace:

For you shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace.

Go out in joy. When we look around our world these days, it is sometimes hard to feel joyful. Yet joy inherently embraces optimism. Joy is the companion of faith and hope. In our polarized world torn by war, famine, and marginalization of the poor and disenfranchised, we are in desperate need of joyful and brave people who are willing to ask the hard questions and live the difficult solutions that make peace possible.

Be led forth in peace. Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, we connect with each other, as the Church, together, to confront systems of injustice and promote reconciliation in places around the world and right here at home.

Continue reading

Building a Life of Faith

“We plan and God laughs” is identified as a Yiddish proverb, the title of a book or two and the headline of multiple online articles meant to help people navigate periods in life when personal plans seem to disintegrate in front of our eyes. When we hear or read the proverb, it can be difficult not to nod along, especially when the phrase encapsulates something most of us have experienced: a perfected resume or proposal sent, but no word back; a flawless itinerary dissolved by the smallest delay; an event set to begin, upended by a storm; a setback or an entirely “new normal.”

As much as we might nod along, or wince at our own experience, the proverb points us in the other direction, too. And if not the proverb, Scripture certainly does.

In the Book of Jeremiah, the tone and task are predominantly focused on God’s judgment, but then Jeremiah shares the statement: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans … to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). These words were sent by the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites who had been taken into Babylonian exile. These striking, comforting words reminded them that, despite their experience of the present, God’s gesture, thoughts and plans for them — and for us — are peaceful, abundant and hopeful. “We plan and God laughs”? Perhaps. But it is just as possible that “we plan, and God imagines a future with so much more.”

Continue reading

Holy Week 2022

Holy Week starts next Sunday with our Palm Sunday Service. Holy Week continues with our Maundy Thursday Service at 6pm. This will be a small service with a soup/sandwich potluck meal. We will have 2 opportunities to worship on Good Friday. The Sanctuary will be open for quiet mediation from 11am till 2pm . Our Worship service will begin at 6pm. Our Easter Services will start at 8:00am with a Easter Breakfast. An Easter Egg hunt is happening at 9:00am. And our Easter Morning Cantata Service will take place at 11am. Please make note of this slight change from our usual Easter start times. We’ll be celebrating the One Great Hour of Sharing offering on Easter Sunday. For information can be found below. We hope to see you as we celebrate this Holy Week.

Continue reading

February Update!

Our Lent schedule starts with our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on March 1st at 6pm. We’ll be holding our Ash Wednesday Service at 6pm on March 2nd. We hope to see you there!

We were able to raise over one hundred dollars and over one hundred breakfast food items during the Souper Bowl of Caring! We Donate our breakfast foods to the local school district and the monetary donations have been sent to Neighbor to Neighbor of Pine Bluff.

The Perfect Gift

In the story of God, as we tell it, there is a barrier that exists between the Created world and its Creator. A wall. Sin, we say, separates us from God, and separation from God is unbearable.

And our story goes on to say that God, seeing that we had no hope in ourselves of getting over, or through or around what separates us, offered us a gift in Jesus Christ who opens a door — a door we could not open ourselves.

What a gift!

But the story goes on to say that Jesus is the perfect gift; not only opening a door but coming through it. Our story says God is with us.

Continue reading

A Light in the Clearing

When the prophet Elijah, deep in the throes of an existential crisis, fled to Mount Horeb in search of God, he was met instead with the sound of sheer silence.

Natalie Pisarcik knows just how he felt.

“There was a time in my life where I was on the bottom,” Natalie testified during Sunday worship in her home congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Boonton, New Jersey. “I cannot even describe how hard and difficult that time was. Only those who have been there know how it feels.” 

Natalie’s story recollected a significant turning point in her life. “On that fateful day, I went for a walk in a wooded area where I kept repeating over and over in my wounded brain how I would end the pain. As I walked, I came across a field, which oddly seemed to call to me.  As I walked into the field, a beam of warm sunlight hit my face. It was at this exact moment that I realized I had a made a terrible mistake. It was like God was saying to me, ‘What are you doing? You have a reason to live.’ I was so overcome.”

Natalie found herself compelled to address the growing mental health crisis not only by sharing her story with her church, but also by getting her congregation more involved. The church’s board of deacons was persuaded to take immediate action to address the suicide crisis.

Because deacons in the Presbyterian tradition are called to a ministry of “compassion, witness, and service,” the board voted to designate the church’s share of the Peace & Global Witness Offering to support the New Jersey Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization in which Natalie had participated for years.

Natalie’s personally moving experience resonates anew during the pandemic, and underlines the importance of this work. “Sadly, and tragically, our community has lost more people to suicide in 2020 than it has to COVID-19,” said Natalie.  

Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, congregations are encouraged and equipped to find and address the anxiety and discord that is prevalent throughout world.  The offering supports ministries that work for reconciliation and facilitate healing. Half of the Peace & Global Witness Offering goes to the national church to address these issues around the world, 25% is retained by congregations for local peace and reconciliation work, and 25% goes to mid councils for similar ministries on the regional level.  And as you may be aware, our own church has used/will use our portion of the offering to support Neighbor to Neighbor of Jefferson County. Natalie has a message to share with us all during these unsettled times.  She reminds us to “listen and look for the light, and remember that you have a purpose, too. God is with you.”

Text PCUSAPEACE to 41444 to give to Peace & Global Witness or visit pcusa.org/peace-global for more information.

Because Water is Life

When Manuel Nazario casts his net into the water these days, his catch is far less plentiful.

In the remote area of Bolivia near the Paraguay-Argentina border, Manuel and the members of his indigenous community are finding that fishing, their traditional livelihood, is now in severe jeopardy.

The Capirendita (pronounced CAP-IR-EN-DITA) community is grappling with the devastating impact of climate change, irregular rainfall patterns, prolonged droughts, disease and mining pollution. As a result, their age-old ways of life and their means of economic support are increasingly threatened.  The degradation of the environment and the mounting lack of access to water threatens their very survival.

Manuel has emerged as one of the leaders in his fishing community. A born innovator and community organizer, he is now leading the families in Capirendita toward the promise of a better way, in partnership with a local organization called CERDET (Center for Regional Studies of Tarija). Together they are working to develop irrigation systems and to collect and store rainwater for safe drinking.

Because of gifts received through One Great Hour of Sharing, like the gifts you and I will make to this Offering here in our congregation, CERDET is building infrastructure to address the communities’ critical water shortage. Their goal is to create 500 meters of pipes to transport safe well water to those in need. Manuel will be responsible for carrying out the excavation work on the underground piping system. Our gifts will also support the distribution of plastic containers to collect and save rainwater.

One Great Hour of Sharing helps us address critical water needs in places like South Sudan, training technicians to dig water wells for their communities and on maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. And in places like Detroit, our gifts have joined We the People of Detroit to secure access to water for those who have had their water shut off during the pandemic. Imagine not being able to wash anything during the pandemic! One Great Hour of Sharing is the single, largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to share God’s love by becoming “repairers of the breach,” joining with people in need to build God’s house, together. Together we are making a better world for those in need no matter where they are. Please give generously, for when we all do a little — it adds up to a lot.

Text SHARING to 56512 to learn more about how your gift to One Great Hour of Sharing makes a difference, or visit http://pcusa.org/oghs