Siblings in Christ,
Lent is soon approaching! On February 14, 2018, we will be gathering at 7:00 p.m. to worship God in observance of Ash Wednesday, the official start of Lent. Observances of Ash Wednesday have received varying levels of attention and importance within communities throughout the generations. For those who may not have yet attended an Ash Wednesday Service, you can expect to participate in a contemplative service focused on speaking truth to the brokenness and imperfections we witness and suffer from as part of humanity. During the service, we take the time to admit that our world is full of pain, our hearts and minds are tormented and torn, and we have relationships that are broken; all of which get in the way of us living into and out of God’s promises of love and grace. In response to these realities of our lives, we hear the words:
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
That is to say; your brokenness is temporary, God’s love is eternal. You are the created, not the creator. God is God, and you are not. The truth and grace in this statement has the power and the ability to set us free from the judgment and scrutiny we face from others and from within. It also allows us to take on an honest and humble perspective of our lives and of God. It is precisely this perspective that allows us to see the hope and the joy that comes on Easter morning when Jesus rose again from the grave!
Peace in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Lauren Applegate
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Warm greetings from your New Jerusalem “Apples” Church council. In a continued effort to improve communication within our congregation, I will provide a brief summary of what is happening at our Council monthly meetings. Congregation members are invited to attend Church Council meetings as spectators. Our meetings run 7:00–9:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. If you have a question or concern that you want addressed at a council meeting, please notify me by Sunday of that week or place it in the question box located in the Narthex. Of course, you can always share your thoughts and concerns with any current council member and ask them for help as well. As your Council President, I am available by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-216-1016.
The Council officers for 2018 are:
President: Marianne Zellner
Vice President: Bill Young
Secretary: Barbara Young
Treasurer: Jesse Hart
Council Members: Glen Campbell, Greg Frederick, Pat Leith, Tina McCardle, Ron Miller, Terry Ravier, Tami Welch, Cindy Ziegler
January 2018 Summary
As noted above, we held council leadership elections. Much of our conversation for the evening revolved around our plans for moving forward with the resignations of Quinette Brucker and Eric Moser. A search/hiring committee was recommended and steps to move forward were developed. We also discussed a request to move forward with the moving of the organ from the Christ, Lower Saucon property to this building. We also had a visit from Rebecca Neafcy who was there to provide information about another Thrivent Build project (May 2018) and opportunities for volunteer involvement. More to come on that in the coming months. Our new winter weather closing process and the sexton position description were also agenda items.
I look forward to getting to know the workings of this congregation and all of you in the next few months. I ask for your prayers for all the council members and all those in leadership positions for this congregation.
Council Question Box
The questions in the box this month were mostly pertaining to worship and the sacraments, so it seems to make sense that I (Pastor Lauren) take them on. During worship, there are aspects and parts of worship that are considered necessary--prayer, reading and proclaiming God’s Word in word and in song. There are many aspects to worship that are instead optional, or adiaphora (Greek word meaning to not be necessary for faith, however permissible). Gowns and liturgical garments fall into this category, along with the banners we hang or the candles we light. It is nice to have these things in worship, however God will still show up if robes aren’t worn or if candles are lit in a different order than we are used to. And for that we can be thankful.
We have two sacraments in the Lutheran church: Baptism and Communion. Baptisms are always joyful and celebratory occasions, as we proclaim that the baptismal candidate is a Beloved Child of God, and welcome them into the mission we share to spread the love and grace that we receive from God through Christ Jesus! The names of the baptismal candidate and their parents are listed in the bulletin, at the end of the worship service/beginning of the announcements, on the day they are baptized. Also, they are recorded in the Angelus of the month following the baptism. Please include these individuals, and their parents and sponsors in your prayers as they live into this new covenant with one another and with God.
Communion is typically distributed to homebound members by me as I rotate through my schedule of visits, however there are some trained lay leaders who have in the past, brought communion to members in their homes as well. If you know of someone who would like communion brought to them, please encourage them to reach out to me or ask them if you may reach out on their behalf to request Communion to be brought to them. I will do what I can to make myself available for such a visit. If you are interested in bringing Communion to people who are otherwise unable to get it in church, please let me know and we can prepare you to do that.
Peace be with you,
Marianne Zellner, Council President
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Endowment Committee Information ~ With our merge between Christ Lutheran Church (CLC) and New Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church (NJELC), CLC brought with them three Endowment Funds to be used to bring Glory to God in our community. Here is an overview of the funds and the logistics concerning their use and management.
The endowment committee is currently managing three funds:
Mission and Ministry Fund - Est. 2003
Property Fund - Est. 2006
Christian Education Fund - Est. 2012
Mission and Ministry Fund
+ Mission: Local, regional and world projects
+ Education: Higher education and continuing education expenses
+ Youth: Support for youth of all ages
+ Worship and Music: Support for the worship of the church
+ Capital Projects: Major renovations and building of new facilities for the church
+ Maintenance; General Upkeep
+ Capital Project
+ Equipment Purchases
+ Property Acquisition
Christian Education Fund
+ Sunday Church School
+ Vacation Bible School
+ Christian Youth Activities
+ Adult Christian Education
+ Teacher's Education
Placed in the church grant applications mail box in February and August.
Applications are submitted to the endowment committee in March and September.
The committee reviews all the applications, makes a motion to council to approve the grants.
Once the grants are approved they are paid in June and December or at a time agreed upon by the requester and endowment committee.
Calculation for Annual Payout
All three funds are set up to do a semiannual payout.
Average balance on December 31 from the three previous years.
Then the committee can recommend up to 5% of that average balance.
Checks for Distribution
Checks for distribution are requested by the chairperson of the Endowment Committee.
The checks are sent to the church in the church's name.
These checks are then deposited into the church’s checking account.
The treasure will receive a list of people/committees that were approved to receive grants.
Checks will be written from the church account.
Checks & Balances
Council is the only body authorized to accept or distribute moneys.
Endowment Committee is authorized to invest moneys in different investment vehicles and will report to council when changes are made.
The funds will live in perpetuity (forever as long as the church is operating).