News and views from the pulpit and the pews
Here we are with summer finally seeming to emerge. It seems to have been a very wet spring; yet we know the sun will eventually come. Similarly, we followers of Jesus also know the Son will eventually come, and our faith keeps us rooted and busy doing Kingdom work until such a time.
Many are already making holiday and vacation plans, and the same holds true for this thing we call church. GleeClub will be wrapping up in a couple of weeks, and the young people sang their hearts out for us for our Anniversary service held last month. A big and heart felt thank you to them as well as JR and Harry and Amy for sharing their music and voices that morning as we celebrated 173 years of God’s faithfulness to our faith family. What a glorious morning it was! We also thank everyone for joining us for our Anniversary Chicken Barbeque, as well as the leaders and teams that brought the evening together.
Plans are already in the works for our 175th and we trust that God will continue to lead us. It hasn’t always been easy, and yes, we’ve lost people along they way, but we steadfastly hold true to the direction that God will continue to lead and shape and guide us. Our budget isn’t quite in the black yet, and a lot of unpaid hours don’t appear in the budget or on the balance sheets. We no longer have the paid position of an office administrator, and that seems to save dollars in that same budget; and a lot of time is volunteered in its place for now. It is quite the task and commitment, and we hope one day to be able to bring the paid position back. Perhaps this might be the time to ask God if there’s any way we might be able to give; perhaps this is the time to reflect on our generosity patterns and growth: we are continually thankful for the hearts and hands that have lovingly brought us to this place, yet we are encouraged to continually reflect on our own Divine Discontentment to grow and mature. We all realize that ten dollars doesn’t go as far in the grocery store as it did ten years ago, and we know the cost of living keeps rising as we tighten our belts. We can’t even pinch pennies anymore because pennies aren’t even in circulation. Yet, I can promise you this: the teams of our faith family squeeze every last nickel and we pray that we may be as faithful with our budget as the hands and hearts that give to the life and work of the church.
I remember when I first started attending church on a regular basis: it took me a while to learn to give regularly. I didn’t know what tithing was, and it seemed everyone was always asking for money around me. Yet I knew deep down in my heart that I had to do something. Then I started setting a target for myself: how might I reach the next level of giving? My first target of $500 for the year was easier than I thought, after all, would I really miss $10 a week by stuffing it in my church envelope? Then came the next level. How might I give $1000 for the year? I used my envelopes and promised myself (and God) that I would set $20 in each envelope, even if I didn’t make it to church on a particular Sunday. It took me a couple of years to get into the habit, but eventually I got there. It wasn’t always easy either. The phrase ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’ jumped out in my mind one time as I borrowed that $20 bill in the envelope, promising to pay it back on payday; all the while, our all knowing and all loving God was teaching and training me in those very early years of my faith. Once I hit that $1000 target, I then challenged myself to reach the next level of giving, trying to squeeze my own budget a little more. Then I realized it was easier to give my first fruits rather than my left overs. To say that was a huge lesson is an understatement (there’s a sermon in there, isn’t there?)
Yes, God indeed does amazing things! And today there are multiple ways to participate in Kingdom giving: cheques and cash are still gratefully received, and we have an automatic monthly debit called PAR that allows the convenience of a direct debit through our banking accounts. Our managers team is exploring online givings as well: imagine the click of a few buttons on your computer or even your smart phone! Times have changed indeed!
And praise God as we give thanks – to the Lord and to you all: Our Presbyterian Sharing target is well past the halfway mark though we aren’t even halfway through the financial year. Have you been able to check out the graph in our fellowship hall? THANK YOU! These allocated givings do amazing things across the country in support of church missions and education and the Kingdom of God. My heart swells in gratitude as I reflect on this. Praise God indeed!
And so we continue to praise God as we gather and plan. Some of our regular happenings at the church may take a small summer break, but others will certainly continue. Though Scouts, Beavers and Cubs will be on summer hiatus, we plan to welcome a troupe from Germany and hope to have the regiments join us for summer worship on Sunday August 11th as we celebrate the essence of scouting and how God works through us all.
We also will continue to gather for summer worship and bring back the café style worship we enjoyed together last summer. Join us in our fellowship hall during the months of July and August: coffee, tea, juice and muffins will be served before and during worship as we continue to gather and praise and sing and learn. We also hope to reflect on some of the music and theology of some ABBA songs as we take a different approach to worship this summer.
Our Bicycle and Safety Rodeo is also very quickly approaching – Wednesday June 5th is an opportunity for all ages to learn helmet safety; there will be an obstacle course for the young people, and hotdogs will be served for all ages as well. This event starts at 6:30pm (registration at 6:15) and will continue until 7:45pm that evening. I offer more thanks to John and his team for their dedication to this project. Sadly, I cannot attend the event this year as I will be at the General Assembly for Presbyterian Church in Canada. I will certainly be thinking of you all that evening.
We will also be gathering in music and fun as we bring another Karaoke night to the church and community: Join us Friday June 21st in the McMillan Hall at the Church from 7pm -10pm. Our past karaoke nights have offered a lot of fun and even some surprises! This night will also be an evening to celebrate through song and gathering, and we will offer the Loonie Counter as well. Snacks, refreshments, families, friend, music and fun – we hope you can join us!
Also, mark your calendar for Sunday July 21st as we head to Grand River Dinner Cruises for a different kind of worship experience: our Riverboat Worship was such a success last year that plans are in the works to do it again. We will not have regular worship at the church that morning; instead we will gather just outside Caledonia for a morning worship experience that certainly takes church ‘outside the box.’ There will be a small levy for boarding: $10 per person, $5 for young people ages 3 – 15, and children under 3 can board for free. Coffee/tea and a muffin are also included in this unique worship experience, and seating is limited so we ask that you make your reservation and enroll early. We will have sign up sheets in the fellowship hall starting the second week of June, and blank envelopes will be available to record and add your name to the passenger list. You can also reserve your seat by calling or emailing the church office and alternative arrangements for payment can be made at that time. Our stewards will also gratefully accept a love offering as we board the boat at 9:15 that morning, and we will return to the dock at 10:45am. We truly do hope you can join us!
If you’re online and on Facebook, please check out our church Facebook page: Caledonia,ON Presbyterian Church; our Kindness Rocks project also has a Facebook page: Caledonia Kindness Rocks Project. Most of our events and news pass through these social media pages and we have the opportunity to reach even more people when you like and share the page and events as well. The young people of our faith family have been having a great time preparing rocks for the project, and several of our small groups have joined in too. The project will even be expanded to the Summer Camp VBS program offered at Grace United Church this year. The Summer Camp will explore ‘Athens’ and what life might have been like for the Apostle Paul. Join us the first week of July as we teach and worship and play and grow with the young people of our community. Spots are limited for that program as well, and volunteers are certainly welcomed too. If you’d like more information or if you might be able to help, please contact Darlene at 905-765-9108 for more information.
Events are also being planned for the fall, and we can start saving our textiles as we practice stewardship and divert even more to keep it out of the landfill. We are still a drop off center for the Soles4Souls project, and newer and gently used shoes can be dropped in the bin. If you have older shoes, broken, worn, ragged, even mismatched, then the Textile Recycle Event will keep them and other goods out of the landfill sites. Clothing, towels, curtains, sheets, fabric, hats and more can be collected for this event. (Sorry, pillows and cushions are not included.) Mark your calendars for Saturday October 19th as we prepare; there is already a bag started in my own closet at home.
We would still love to hear what your favorite hymns and worship songs are, and if you have any ideas, events, or questions or concerns, it is my sincere hope to always keep our communication lines open and transparent. Our session team today, as well as in the past, have dedicated their hearts and their service to the life and work of our church family. Our teams strive to be transparent in our communications, just as we all strive to be available to and for one another. It is as a faith family that we continue to journey into the future, looking forward to the opportunities God provides and trusting in the Spirit to continue to shape and guide us. Praise Jesus for his Kingdom work, and may we continually find ways to join the Lord in his mission.
Peace and Blessings to you all,
Caledonia Presbyterian Church email@example.com