Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Weekly News 4-24-15

Weekly News 4-24-15

Faithful to God . . . Relevant to today . . .  Open to all . . . Striving to improve


Everyone who is capable of driving has the power to increase worship attendance this week by one.
Everyone is capable of increasing this Sunday’s offering by one gift, however large or small.
Everyone is capable of laboring for the cause of Christ today by performing one deed, whether in the church or in the community.

Salem’s youth will hold their annual Pie Auction this Sunday after worship. Donations of pies will be happily accepted. While this is billed as an auction and there will be plenty of good natured bidding competition, there will be alternative means for securing whole pies or slices of pie. Please support the youth as they seek to raise money for their upcoming S.A.L.T. experiences.

Our Sunday morning worship service will celebrate the power of God, especially God’s unseen presence. Mark’s sermon is called “Ministry in the Land of Dothan,” following the text 2 Kings 6:15-17. After brief comments on the background to this passage, Mark will pull it into the foreground and speak about our seeing “the horses and chariots of God” today against the surrounding forces that seem to be closing in on us. The Barry Robinson Chorus will be singing in worship this week.

We have done significant work to improve the structure and appearance of our building, but we have not yet completed the work of decorating it to the glory of God. “Project Beautify” is an interior decorating emphasis to continue what has been started. Its aim is to give a visual witness to our love for God and the church. It will creatively depict to members and visitors alike our love for God and the church and will give expression to the core values our Council, in collaboration with other committees, has identified as descriptive of our church. An organizational and brainstorming gathering will be held Monday, May 4, at 7 PM. Any and all are welcome and encouraged to attend to catch the vision and to share ideas. “I am doing a new thing,” says the Lord (Is. 43:19); “Write the vision; make it plain . . .” (Hab. 2:2).

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr is up for discussion for this month’s Book Group. The meeting will be Monday, Apr. 27, at 7 PM.

The Council has set Saturday, May 2, as a Spring Clean-up and Work Day for the church. Volunteers are needed for work inside and out. You can come as early at 8 AM if you like. We hope to have the chores done by noon.

Weekly News 4-17-15

Weekly News 4-17-15

Faithful to God . . . Relevant to today . . . Open to all . . . Striving to improve

SUNDAY . . . Learning from Our Charter Members
Learning from Our Charter Members is the topic for Mark’s sermon this Sunday. He will preach it from the old pulpit (currently in the Conference Room) and the worship service will be structured after the pattern that might have been used in 1923 when Salem came into being. The purpose of the sermon will not be to tell history but to speak to today. Our charter members – we have a list in the handwriting of our second pastor, Herman Lehman – started a congregation when none existed. What can we learn from them about strengthening a church that already exists? (The names of the charter members will be listed in the April 19 bulletin.) (Thanks to John Bass for seeing to the “pulpit exchange.”)

Karen Steele will be out of the office and unable to print and collate the worship bulletins for April 26 and May 3. Is there a volunteer who would be willing to take on this task for one or both of these Sundays? The typing will be done. All that is needed is help printing, folding, and collating.

The Youth will hold their Annual Pie Auction on Sunday morning, April 26. This is a fun-d raiser for the 2015 S.A.L.T. trips. Join in the tomfoolery that has come to be associated with our pie auctions. There is a slice of the fun waiting for you, but, if you win the bid, your competitor may give you the raspberries. (Please don’t complain if you think this pun is a lemon. No one wants to get into a rhubarb with you.)

PROJECT BEAUTIFY . . . . A Witness
Project Beautify is an emphasis on interior decorating to enhance the appearance of our church, making it attractive to the eye, reflective our congregation’s vitality, and expressive of our mission and love for God. It is a witness to the truth for which we stand and the joy we have in our church and its faith. Project Beautify will focus on the sanctuary, fellowship hall, entrances, and conference room. It will draw upon the creative eye and artistic taste of interested volunteers who will capture the vision of beautification and bring it to expression. Interested? There will be an organizational and brainstorming meeting at 7 PM on Monday, May 4. All hands and eyes and ages and ideas are welcome.

OPEN AND AFFIRMING . . . . A Process
Opening and Affirming (ONA) is the official designation in the United Church of Christ to identify a congregation which makes a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Salem has long functioned in this way, but we have not been able to identify ourselves using Open and Affirming language because that language requires a particular process leading toward official designation as ONA. It is important for us to begin this process toward official designation. Numbers of people today, regardless of their age or orientation, will not consider attending or joining a congregation that is not officially Open and Affirming. Our Membership Growth and Development Committee, with the blessing of the Church Council, is gearing up to walk Salem through the Open and Affirming process. This work will culminate with a vote at a Congregational Meeting, likely, though not necessarily, our Annual Congregational Meeting this November. While the committee is taking the lead, the matter will and can only be finally decided at a Congregational Meeting.

By now you recognize the name of our 2015 Stewardship Campaign that aims to receive pledges from 100% of our people and reach a challenge goal of $295,000. Good progress is being made, but we are not there yet. Do return a pledge card,