In every season, God knows the way and walks alongside us.
"God created us in his image" (See Genesis 1:27).
All lives bear a message, whether those of the famous few or the unknown many. The latter was the case with Cerian Williams. Her mother, Sarah, has written an account of Cerian's life and death: Perfectly Human: Nine Months with Cerian. Its unforgettable story reflects the premise that the worth of every human being exists prior to and irrespective of anything else about them. Human worth is not found in our achievements; it is not lost in our failures; it is not rendered suboptimal by declarations of “normality.”
Sarah and her family were thrilled with the news that another Williams was on the way. But during a routine ultrasound, their joy turned to horror as the technician reported, “I am so sorry. There is something wrong with the baby.” There was: in fact, Cerian died soon after delivery.
Perfectly Human focuses not on Cerian’s death but on the social impact of Sarah’s carrying her to term. And it is in this that the unborn infant had her life message. Sarah’s choice regarding Cerian was often spoken against with statements like, “It is morally wrong to bring suboptimal life into the world.” Sarah, a history professor at Oxford, processed such comments in dialogue with thinkers as divergent as John Stuart Mill and Jürgen Moltmann. The latter had special impact:
The ideal of health set up by the capable condemns a certain group of people to be called handicapped. Our society arbitrarily defines health as the capacity for work and a capacity for enjoyment, but true health … is the strength to live, the strength to suffer, the strength to die.
The Williams’ chose to resist. And because of that, Perfectly Human inspires. Cerian Williams was brought to term not because she was deemed “normal” but because she was already human. Simply human. Perfectly human. Cerian stands contra mundum, against the world, the world of the capable. She affirms the intrinsic value of the unborn, handicapped, dying, and all who do not fit the standards of a culture that insists on strength, not weakness, for admission to its elitist country club. Perfectly Human builds courage to believe and live afresh that conviction.
Stone Hill Annual Meeting: All are welcome to attend the annual meeting held on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Harris Hall. We will hear financial reports for 2019 and vote on the budget for 2020. There will be an opportunity for Q & A. Members will vote on officers and the budget at that time. Childcare provided. Candidate profiles are available at the Welcome Desk and in the Prayer Chapel. Absentee Ballots are also available in the Westerly Prayer Chapel.
SAVE THE DATES! PASTOR MATT’S RETIREMENT EVENTS
We are planning two events to honor Pastor Matt’s retirement. We will celebrate him and his family at a formal community dinner at Stone Hill Church on Saturday, May 16, from 5-8 p.m. This is an adults-only event (age 18+, no childcare provided). Also, Sunday services on June 7 will be dedicated to honoring Pastor Matt’s spiritual leadership. More details will follow over the next few weeks.
Mini-Course/Support Group for those struggling with Anger or for Parents Struggling with an Angry Child:
· The Care Team is sponsoring mini-courses/support groups to help us in our various struggles. On February 2, we begin a 4-part series on Anger at 11:10 a.m. in the Adult Ed room.
· Any questions email Pastor Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stone Hill Membership Class: Do you want to learn more about our church? "Stone Hill Membership Class" is designed for you to survey the history, doctrine, vision, government, and the membership process of Stone Hill Church. This class is designed for everyone and serves as a membership prerequisite. The class will be held on Feb 9 after the second service in Harris Hall. Lunch is provided. Childcare will also be provided for those who have young children. If you have more questions, please contact Pastor Jin at email@example.com
Stone Hill Life Class: A follow up to "Stone Hill Membership” class, "Stone Hill Life ", is designed for all who are interested in the life of the church and learning how the church cares for her members. This class will explore ministries at Stone Hill and discuss opportunities to serve. "Stone Hill Life" will be held on Feb 16, after the second service, in Harris Hall. Lunch will be provided, as well as childcare for those who have young children. If you have more questions, please contact Pastor Jin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for Community?
· Join a Stone Hill Church Small Group
· Small groups are where we develop relationships that provide all of us with the care, prayer and relational support that we need in our journey with Jesus.
· We have groups for men/women, young adults, adults. If you are interested in joining a small group please email Pastor Jin at email@example.com.
Men’s Retreat Save the Date: April 24-26
Men’s Retreat will be held at Keswick Conference Center, details to follow!
D6 Adult Sunday School Class: Our D6 Adult Sunday School class has started. This class works in conjunction with our Children and Youth program. During the month of January we are studying 1 Timothy. This class meets at 9:30 a.m. and is taught by Ray Carr, our Deacon of Adult Education. You do not need to have attended prior classes to attend this class.
“Weekend to Remember” Marriage Retreat: This retreat weekend will help you and your spouse understand God's blueprint for marriage. Retreats in our area will occur in Hershey, PA on February 14– February 16 and Poconos, PA on March 20 –March 22 and March 27– March 29. If you register by January 27 with Promo Code SAVE50, you will save 50% off the registration for the weekend. Please register using the Group Name: BlairNJ for the best available rate. This will also allow Stone Hill Church to earn towards a scholarship registration. Please see https://www.familylife.com/weekend-to-remember/ for more information. You can also contact Nancy Blair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wilberforce School: You are invited to come hear Dr. Leonard Sax, psychologist and New York Times best selling author, speak on evidence based parenting; challenges facing children in the 21st century. Among other titles, Sax has authored The Collapse of Parenting, Boys Adrift, and Girls on the Edge. His wealth of research and experience is meaningful and impactful for parents raising children in the 21st century. Tickets available online. Seats are limited. January 30, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Wilberforce School.
Join the Worship Team: Bass Players needed for Sunday morning worship. All experience/ability levels are welcome. Consider using your talents to worship and praise with us! Email Becca Gater at email@example.com.
Children’s Worship: If you want to be involved, now is your time! We meet every Sunday from 9:25-9:45 a.m. in the 1st grade room. If you are interested in leading singing or playing an instrument, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stone Hill Arts Series presents: Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr. A one-woman dramatic and multimedia presentation. Hedy Lamarr, glamorous siren of the silver screen, was more than the most beautiful woman in the world. She invented “frequency hopping” and “spread spectrum technology” that make the world of wireless communication tick. From Austria to Hollywood, WWII, torpedoes, ecstasy, and intrigue to the very cell phone in your pocket, she was there! Saturday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m. Free Admission. Q&A and light refreshments following the performance.
Emanuel Movie and Panel Discussion: The documentary, Emanuel, explores life after the tragic shooting on June 17, 2015 at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, as family members, friends and the community try to heal through faith and forgiveness. Stone Hill Church is hosting a free showing of the movie with a panel discussion afterwards. The panel is comprised of the four men that Stone Hill Church sent to Charleston in the aftermath of the shootings. Come hear their stories and learn about the power of forgiveness. Saturday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m.