We have the odd and unusual calendar coincidence of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day arriving together. Sometimes the secular calendar and sacred and liturgical world overlap – like Christmas, yet in different ways of course. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, forty days of preparation prior to Holy Week and Easter Day. It is a time of repentance and reflection, getting ready spiritually for the horror and the joy of those days. Our own forty days ‘in the wilderness’ will produce testing and we hope refinement of purpose, as Christ’s own.
Look over the schedule for February 14th; it is very creative and meaningful. See you in church!
ALL ON ONE DAY!
Wednesday, February 14th
Community Dinner in Fellowship Hall at 5:30 pm
Bring something good to eat and share
Renewal of Marriage Vows in the sanctuary at 6:30 pm
Ash Wednesday Worship Service in the sanctuary at 7:00 pm
You may receive the imposition of ashes, if you wish
ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
We had our best year for worship attendance in five, averaging 63, and recording four months out of 2017 when we had the highest attendance for that month within the five year span. The budget report indicated we fell short of a balance by only $1200. The success of the “Temperature Control” fund was felt in the warmth of our Fellowship Hall, where the meeting took place.
Reports were received by the committees and organizations of the church. Our thanks were given for the work of Bette Van Patten, who retired in September; Travis Remshifski, who served as our custodian for most of the year; Janet Zeas, our church secretary; Bonnie Reed, who directed two cantatas; and Ken Reed, who has become our interim organist. The congregation reviewed the Session’s budget for the church and voted to increase the pastor, Rev. Matlack’s, time to 90% or 36 hours (four and a half days) per week.
The two booklets are available in the sanctuary entryway.
We are celebrating Scout Sunday this Sunday,
February 4th, 10:00 am service
Our church now officially sponsors our own Cub Scout Pack 151!
Bonnie Reed, our cantata director, is calling out all our singers for the Good Friday / Easter cantata – come one; come all! The first practice and “read through” (is that a pun?!) will be this Thursday, February 1st, 6:30 pm, in the choir rehearsal area, downstairs of the Christian Education Building. We will be performing “Once Upon a Tree” this year. The music books and a CD will be available for you to use; just bring your lovely voice. The rehearsal schedule will be provided at the first practice.
The year’s first meeting was held on January 9th in the downstairs Conference Room of the CE Building. Even with the very cold weather, eight members were present. Beginning with Bible study, PW addressed the topic of “Knowing the Historical Jesus,” prepared and led by Carol Barry. The women appreciate Carol’s leadership of an informative and interesting discussion.
As you can see in the annual meeting report, PW has generously given to 15 organizations and events.
The knitting program continues. Throughout 2017, Carol Barry made beautiful blankets from donated eight inch crocheted squares, and given to veterans, the homebound, those in residential care or having special need. PW considers this project to be a very valuable element of their mission work.
All women of the church are invited to become part of our Society and enjoy the Christian camaraderie of Bible study and prayer, fellowship, and often lunch at various restaurants in the area.
NUTS AND BOLTS
Monthly men of the church who are available during the daytime gather in the MacNeill Room for lunch and conversation followed by light work around the facilities or outside. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 20th, noon. Join us!
The Deacons will be meeting next on Sunday, February 25th
during the Open Hour (9:05 am) in the MacNeill Room
Session follows at 11:05 am, after second service, in the MacNeill Room
In our prayers – Joe Frey, medical procedures; Marion Schomp, recent medical visits; Marsha Wyckoff, PT out-patient; Dee Whitehead, home after being in the hospital and rehab; Carol Reed, not feeling well and delaying a Florida visit to her sister; Dave Hoyt, continued medical follow-up; JoAnn Anner, feeling poorly too many days; Gloria Lake, recent medical procedure; Cat Barry, oral surgeon visit; David Miller, upcoming procedure in February; Viola Lozier, fell and cracked but did not break her pelvis and now is in Kessler for rehab; Kassie Bream, orthopedic pain in foot; our sympathy to Ken and Ginny DeMario on the death of his mother.
We have a host of prayers each Sunday for family and friends – the list is long but it is based in our love for those close to us and our support for neighbors and co-workers and friends.
COMING UP IN MARCH!
We are hosting a Chili Supper on Sunday, March 18th, after second service, in the Fellowship Hall. Bring your best chili to share and eat. While Jesus counsels us against judging each other, as people, he did not mean chili! Your thumbs up for different chilis will be recognized. Come and enjoy. We will have complete table set-ups and refreshments for you.
We are sorry to hear the Wyckoffs are selling their house and moving to the Dover area of Delaware sometime this year. With their departure, they are downsizing and have several items you may want (and if you would like to offer a donation for receiving same, that is ok too): a Craftsman lawn mower; snowblower; generator; portable hammock (free-standing); portable storage shed, frame and cover; Craftsman wheelbarrow. All are used, of course. See Harold and Marsha for details.
If you are interested in playing softball in the North Jersey Christian Softball League, we are now sponsoring a team again.
See Rev. Matlack for details!
AS A BIT OF POLICY
I (Hugh) am willing to add items to the newsletter as a part of a “marketplace” and they will also go on the website (fpcstanhope.org) but we are not receiving donated items at the church. Our policy as Presbyterians means all material gifts must be approved by the Session in advance (books to the book sale and clothing to the bin and food for the pantry or medical equipment for loaning out are good, of course). Information sharing otherwise is fine. Check with me first and all will go well. í ½í¸Š Thanks!
First Presbyterian Church
100 Main Street / POB 212
Stanhope, NJ 07874
(973) 347-5142 / office
Rev. Hugh J. Matlack, Pastor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet Zeas, Church Secretary, email@example.com
Moving forward in life is typically a challenge. We can get caught up in the past, our experiences, and have them override any new possibilities we could achieve. We can also fail to learn from our mistakes in the past and repeat the same unhelpful patterns over and over. We need the wisdom to know the difference – where are we going; what have we appreciated and learned along the way to guide us; what opportunities await us.
This first Sunday in January, the 7th, 10:30 am, we will have a Listening Session on the future and direction of our congregation’s music program. We will be listing our accomplishments; we will be cataloguing our assets, personal and practical; we will be invoking the Spirit to see what dreams and ideas and hopes we have for our music program.
Please plan to make time following the second service, in the sanctuary, to participate in this discernment exercise for the future of our church’s music program. While we will be having two services again come January, the second service will be conducted swiftly so that we can begin our session at 10:30 am.
It is so much fun to put up and then relish the Christmas finery we have in our sanctuary. We have all benefitted from having the greens and lights and candles and tree be displayed throughout Advent and Christmas.
No “gremlins” will sneak in and take everything down and neatly put them away. We need you! The job is not difficult or taxing; the more help the merrier. So join us – it usually takes no more than an hour: Saturday, January 6th, 9:00 am, in the sanctuary.
PW will be meeting on Tuesday, January 9th, 10:00 am at Carol Barry’s home on Cranberry Lake. Give Carol Barry a call for directions or if you have questions – 973.347.4551.
We will be returning to having two services on
Sunday, January 7th, 8:15 and 10:00 am in the sanctuary
We will be receiving communion at both services
After the second service, there will be a Listening Session on the music program
The congregation will be having its annual meeting at the end of January, on the 28th, following second service, in our cosy and warm Fellowship Hall.
Groups within the church are encouraged to write out an annual report and submit it to the church office by Tuesday, January 16th, 9:00 am. That way we can provide a booklet for members to review prior to the meeting. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
At the meeting, please bring soup or sandwiches to share and eat; the Session will provide whatever else we need.
Our thanks to all who participated in the Advent and Christmas Eve services – lighting candles; singing in the Big Choir; leading worship; getting music out of the Allen Organ (Phil and Herman!); directing the choir (Bonnie!); working through the many bulletins and inserts (Janet!); reading from the Bible; we had lots and lots of participation and help. The list could be longer; thanks to all!
In our prayers – Joe Frey, in and out of the hospital; Gloria Lake, medical test; Dee Whitehead, in Hackettstown, out soon; Dave Hoyt, recovering and out to church on Christmas Eve!; JoAnn Anner, fibro pain; Catherine Barry, medical follow-up and thanks for narrating the cantata!; Scott Harris, recent same day procedure; Betty Alpaugh, in and out of the hospital and doing well.
We have lots and lots of prayer requests each Sunday, showing our support for family and friends and neighbors. Those prayers matter and we offer them to God in hope and thanksgiving.