Dear Friend in Christ,
Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Bread of Life! I trust this coming summer will bring you rest and a renewal of your faith in the One who supplies our every need.
June has always been a busy month in the lives of the congregations of which I have been a member. St. Peter’s, Mantzville, is different. It’s busier!!! June 2017 will be the busiest June I have ever been part of as a pastor or a lay person. Confirmation, the Picnic(s), Youth Sunday, Contemporary Service, Knoebel’s Grove trip, prospective members gathering, Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly – to say nothing of the preparation for all these events – and more. Read on!
As for my part of this newsletter, I first want to address a matter that has come up in each of the five congregations I have served and has now come up here as well: sermon illustrations. I want you to know that you do not have to worry about appearing as a star in one of my sermons (or even a supporting cast member.) Yes, tis true! Many a soul has worried aloud to me that s/he is going to appear in one of my sermons, since I reference so many people’s lives as the soul of my narrative. And, yes, I have already referenced by his real name, my friend George, who sold rolls of bathroom tissue at ten cents per roll . . . two for twenty-five. Still, I can promise you, if you are worried about appearing in one of my sermons with some story of your life being told, you can stop worrying. When I share stories of folks from congregations I have served, their names are changed and even the location of the events. But even then I only tell the stories of folks I know would not mind having their stories told. Your privacy and theirs matters to me. No one is a mere canvas on which I get to paint a sermon illustration. You, and “they,” are people; and one important way I have to express that is to promise that your privacy will be respected. You will never appear in one of my sermons unless I know I am welcome to do so; and, “yes” I know a few members of St. Peter’s who are perfectly fine with me sharing a story or two about them in a sermon. Like my friend George, these are the folks who have made it clear that they would feel a certain joy knowing that their lives helped to share the Gospel message. (P.S. If you have to ask me if you are one of them, then you are not. If you are assuming you are one of them and are delighted with the prospect, then you are. And, one final “yes:” I do know the difference!)
Second, I want to share with you my delight at the possibility of welcoming some folks into the membership of St. Peter’s within this very month of June that lies before us. If you or someone you know wants to join St. Peter’s, please do what you can to get us (i.e. them and me or you and me) in touch with each other. We are inviting everyone interested in joining St. Peter’s to a meet-n-greet, question-n-answer event this month – actually, we’re offering two times but only asking prospective members to attend one of them: either Sunday, June 11 from Noon to 1:00pm or Wednesday, June 14 (Flag Day!) from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Both will be in the church building but the actual room is still TBA. Please do your part to make these happy events by coming yourself just to be friendly, by inviting someone you know is interested in joining our congregation, and/or by just sharing this news as widely as you can. I am grateful to the Board members who have heartily offered to help with these two events.
Third, I want to let you know that I have begun work on a comprehensive ministry renewal program for St. Peter’s which I will present to the Board over the next few months. Based on work I have been doing very deliberately for over ten years, it is called “Home to Many Blessings,” and it is already in use at two of my former congregations. It is a very flexible and forward-thinking program that works best when it is carefully tailored to the congregation who is going to use it. “Home to Many Blessings” is an organic approach to ministry that builds on what is already in place and unites the work of a congregation under the rubrics of “joy” and “abundance.” The best thing about it is that it does not have to be adopted all at once. It is a concept more than a program; and, it is comprehensive by virtue of the direction it provides more than any specific programs it recommends. I mention it here in hopes that you will let the title – “Home to Many Blessings” – float around in your head a bit, so that, each time you hear it from now on, your curiosity will just grow and grow.
So, read on and enjoy the great news of our energetic home to many blessings here in Mantzville. And dream about how you will be part of our joyful life together in Christ.
Looking forward with you to a more faithful St. Peter’s, I am . . .
Yours in Christ,
St. Peter’s Church is entering a time of transition. The board is confident that God will lead us through this process and the many important decisions that lie ahead. We are asking for prayers and support from the congregation during this process.
The Board would like to thank the following people who have offered their time, knowledge, and patience to represent our congregation and serve on our Search Committee:
Mike Hunsicker (Chairperson) Cathie Miller
Terry Miller Burdell Snyder
Jill Hoppes Charlene Miller
Jan Altenberg Nancy Knadler
We pray that the congregation will trust our leadership, and trust that God is working through us. We ask for the congregation’s strength and support to help guide us through this time of transition.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and for the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Also, the board has been working with Pastor Fred Crawford and Pastor Alan Miller to locate an interim pastor to serve our needs during the call process. We are happy to report that we have entered into a contract with Pastor Kenneth Buckwalter to serve as our interim pastor. Pastor Buckwalter has been an ordained pastor since 1990. Most recently, he served as the pastor of a large congregation (approximately 1,100 members) in the Lehigh Valley. Unfortunately, due to health issues, he was no longer able to make a commitment of 55 to 60 hours per week which a congregation of that size required. Therefore, he is now seeking an interim position which will allow him to work a manageable 40 hour work week. The Board was impressed with Pastor Buckwalter’s enthusiasm for ministry and interim work during his interview. We feel he will provide us with positive guidance through the call process and offer input regarding our current worship services and programs to help us plan a strong future for St. Peter’s Church. Pastor Buckwalter will begin his ministry with us on March 1, 2017 at our Ash Wednesday Service. We encourage you to come and help us welcome him into the St. Peter’s Church Family.
St. Peter's Church Board