Jesus Christ is our Deliverer: He has broken our slavery to self-obsession by his cross, and we can now truly love others!
As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Matthew 25:40).
On this Sanctity of Life Sunday, I present a forceful excerpt about human dignity from Onward, a book by Russell Moore. Moore, who spoke last fall at Stone Hill’s TGC Conference, is a journalist and ethicist.
On a Sunday this January I will probably be preaching somewhere on “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” Here’s a confession: I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to preach the Bible. And I love to talk about the image of God and the protection of all human life. I hate this Sunday not because of what we have to say, but that we have to say it at all. The idea of aborting an unborn child or abusing a born child or starving an elderly person or torturing an enemy combatant or screaming at an immigrant family, these ought all to be so self-evidently wrong that a “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” ought to be as unnecessary as a “Reality of Gravity Sunday.”
Several years ago, I heard a lecturer talking about ministries of mercy to the poor and vulnerable. The crowd seemed to be in agreement with the lecturer because, as one respondent put it, social ministries give us the opportunity to share the gospel. The lecturer agreed, but then he talked about a group home filled with cognitively disabled children. This man’s church went every day to brush the hair of these children, to sing to them, and sometimes just to sit quietly and hold their hands. “They can’t hear or respond to the gospel,” he said. “So is our ministry to them worth it?”
Of course it is. This ministry is “worth it” for the same reason it was “worth it” for Jesus’ friends to wash and anoint his body after his crucifixion. It was honoring him, loving him, recognizing him. He tells us when we stand with the poor, the unborn, the orphaned, the widowed, the diseased, the abandoned, the disabled, the poor, the elderly, we are standing with the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40). And when we care for them, Jesus tells us, we will recognize him there, too.
Adult Ed: “Science and the Bible: Ways to Look at the Two Great Revelations of God”: Is led by Andy & Pat Bocarsly at 9:30 a.m. in Harris Hall.
Communion Prep: Join the team to help prep for communion. This can be done once a month or on a rotating basis. Please contact the church office for more info at 609-924-3816 or email@example.com.
Development anyone? The Church is seeking volunteers who can provide input or expertise in the area of development, i.e. helping the congregation understand, appreciate, and rise to both the general and specific needs of church finances. Anyone out there in our congregation with experience in planned giving? We are looking for volunteers who will commit together to learn best practices in this area. If interested, contact Executive Director, Doug Megill, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Emerging Ministries
Educational Enrichment: We have initiated a pilot tutoring (homework help) meeting (once a week) for children. We are hoping to increase the number of students that we can help. We are looking for ‘tutors’ who can meet once a week with students for one hour in the areas of writing, upper elementary math, and middle school math. If interested please respond to Melissa Johnsen or Pastor Tracy at email@example.com. All ‘tutors’ for homework help will need to be vetted and undergo a background check.
There is an immediate need for tutors for a:
· High School Boy - Algebra 1 ( computing and reasoning)
· Middle School Boy- Reading comprehension and learning to express his ideas on paper
· Elementary School Girl - 5th grade math (right now they are working on multiplying and reducing fractions) and writing.
Mentoring Students: We have initiated a pilot mentoring service that provides personal mentoring for students from upper elementary through high school. We hope that our mentors can meet with the student for one hour a week, 3 times/month. We will be providing some training and each mentor will have to undergo a background check. If interested please email Pastor Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plastic Bag Recycling: As part of our effort to be as green as possible and in coordination with Sustainable Princeton, we have a white bin in our Coat Closet for recycling plastic bags. We will take clean, dry plastic film and bags (LDPE, LLDPE, MDPE and HPDE) - plastic shopping bags, produce bags, dry cleaning bags, cereal liners, paper towel/toilet paper wrapping, plastic shipping envelopes, bubble wrap. Contact Jim Erickson with any questions, email@example.com.
Adult Ed: Jeremiah: Will begin on January 28th and be led by John Wilsey at 9:30 a.m. in the Library.
Eastern Wind Symphony Concert: Stone Hill Arts Series presents the Eastern Wind Symphony in concert on Saturday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. Join us for an evening of beautiful music by this wind and percussion symphony, and hear our very own Gerald Wells on the euphonium. Free admission; enjoy light refreshments after the concert. Invite a friend!
2018 Men's Retreat: Where: America’s Keswick; When: March 9-11, 2018; Theme: “You are the man!”; Topic: Relationships in the life of King David. David had many interesting relationships; including his connections with Saul, Jonathan, Bathsheba, his “Mighty Men”, and of course God. We will be studying some of his relationships and how they reflect David’s call (and our call) to personal ministry as ambassadors of Christ. Men’s retreats offer unique opportunities for guys of all ages to come together for a focused weekend of leading each other towards authenticity in Christ, shaping each other into who God wants us to be, and building up one another to bring us to the next level in our relationship with God and others.
Speakers: Brian Edgerly and Alex Kato; “Guy Stuff” Workshops: TBA
The Stone Hill Annual Meeting will be January 28 at 7:00 p.m. in Harris Hall. We will hear financial reports for 2017 and vote on the budget for 2018. Pastor Matt will share with us his Vision/Direction for 2018. There will be an opportunity for Q&A with ministry leaders. We will vote on the list of Elder and Deacon nominees. Absentee ballots will be available in the prayer chapel and in the Stone Hill office.