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Sermons from St. Paul’s

April 16, 2019

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God Saves
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019
Your Place In the Story
Rev. J. Matthew Deal
Sunday, March 31, 2019
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A Message from Pastor Matt

April 2, 2019

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Dear St. Paul’s Family,

In early January we celebrated the Baptism of Christ.  Jesus’ baptism takes place just three weeks after we celebrate Christmas.  He’s grown fast in those three weeks of gospel readings.  No longer an infant, but a man in his late twenties, Jesus joins his cousin John in the Jordan River and is baptized.  The story quickly shifts from the safe confines of the newly baptized crowds on the river bank to the harsh surroundings of the desert.  The Spirit drives Jesus from his home into a forty day mystical retreat in the wilderness.  Jesus is not alone in the desert; the Holy Spirit is there as a companion, but so is the Tempter, Satan, relentlessly trying to sway Jesus from the path to which he is called.

Our own spiritual journey now leads us back to the wilderness as we continue through the season of Lent.  Lent begins with Jesus once again in the wilderness, facing temptation, and even facing his own mortality.  The scriptures lead us to believe that even when he is with his disciples, Jesus sometimes wonders if he is up to the challenges, the difficulties that lay just around the corner.

Life changes quickly.  Just as Jesus tasted the sweet love of the baptismal waters and was driven out into harsh nothingness, we too have known the bitter and sweet tastes of life.  Each of us has our own challenges to deal with and sometimes the things life brings us can cause great struggle and stress.  There are countless events that put us in a state of desolate loneliness, a place where both hope and God seem far away. I don’t know how Jesus must have felt in the wilderness of the desert, but I’d like to think that he has some sympathy for our plight.   

What is your wilderness?  What things in your life have you feeling alone, beaten, frustrated?  Do you ever find yourself tempted?  Are you tempted to give up on your convictions, on hope, on the people in your life?  Are you even tempted to throw in the towel on life itself, to end your life and your suffering?

Things like depression, illness, damaged relationships, joblessness, and others, are not solitary experiences.  We all have tasted the frustrations of life.  Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed by those he loved.  He knew what fear and frustration felt like as things seldom went his way.  

God has given each of us a life and a calling.  We are not beings created for solitude, but called to discover our salvation in the life-giving community that is the church, the Body of Christ.  During these forty days of Lent, may you reconnect with the life giving Spirit of our Savior—and remember you are never alone.  The Body of Christ, your church family, is by your side throughout the wildernesses of life.  Connect with us, and let us know how we may help you on your journey.

Blessings on your journey,

Pastor Matt

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April’s News From St. Paul’s

April 2, 2019

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April’s Meetings at a Glance (available at press time)

Wednesday, April 3rd:  Trustees, 5:00pm, CE Room, Accessibility Task Force, 6:00pm, CE Room

Thursday, April 4th:  Care Team, 1:00pm, CE Room

Saturday, April 6th:  Men’s Brotherhood, 8:00am, Annual Pancake Breakfast trip to Salisbury, carpool leaves from the church parking lot at 8:00am

Monday, April 8th:  Women’s Fellowship 6:30pm, Fellowship Hall

Tuesday, April 23rd:  Church Council, 7:00pm in the CE Room 

St. Paul’s is on Facebook!  Be sure to “Like” us to keep up with updates and events.

Book of Remembrance forms are in the literature rack in the narthex.  If you wish to give a gift in memory of or in honor of a loved one, please use this form.  You can place it in your offering envelope along with your monetary gift or you can bring it to the office.  We save these forms for documentation until the Book of Remembrance is published in the newsletter twice a year.  Thank you for taking the time to submit the form.

Bible Study: Bible Studies following worship themes will be held on Tuesdays at 10:00am in the Salem Chapel.  

Women’s Fellowship

All women of the church are invited to attend the upcoming Women’s Fellowship meeting on Monday, March 8th at 6:30pm.  The night’s agenda includes an important business meeting and an Easter project.    

Men’s Brotherhood Pancake Breakfast

The Men’s Brotherhood will be making their annual pilgrimage to the Salisbury Lions Club pancake/buckwheat cake breakfast on Saturday, April 6th.  We will leave the church at 8am.  A carpool will gather in the back parking lot.  All men of the church are invited to attend!

Church Ministry Team Meeting Nights

Church Council, at their March meeting, put forth a new plan to streamline the process of committee and ministry team planning.  The recommendation is that the committees of church council and other special groups that meet on a regular basis covenant to meet on either the first Wednesday or third Tuesday of each month.  Hour-long meeting slots will open at 4:00pm each day and close at 7:00pm.  The hope is that by having most of our meetings on two nights we can better plan when committees will meet and give each committee better access to the church’s programming staff.  We also anticipate that the common meeting nights will increase opportunities for worship and fellowship.  This plan also leaves open the possibility of committees still meeting outside of the two Church Ministry Team Nights if neither of those dates and times work for their committee members. 

Committee and group chairs should contact Pastor Matt with questions or to schedule meetings.

Living Waters Camp and Conference Center is April’s Mission Offering

Living Waters Camp and Conference Center is our mission partner for April. For the past 54 years Living Waters has provided camping, educational, and worship opportunities for all age groups throughout the year.   Most of their children’s camps are offered during the month of July.  The theme for this year is Peace Talks and includes programs for kids from Kindergarten through High School.  Living Waters also has rental facilities that will accommodate individual tent camping as well as RV’s.  In August they sponsor a Golf Outing and can provide housing for a variety of retreats.

Greeters & Ushers for March

April 7:  Communion By Intinction: Karen Addleman—Chair & Elder, Karen Gibson—Elder, Harold Wahl, Sally Wahl

April 14:  Patrick Ferko—Chair, Craig Schenck, Donna Phillippi, Kenny Shaffer

April 18:  Maundy Thursday:  Communion By Intinction:  Andra Snyder—Chair & Elder, Harold Weaver—Elder, Candy Christner, Sue Geary

April 19:  Good Friday:  Pete Hauger—Chair, Kathy Hauger 

April 21:  Easter Sunday:  Communion In the Pews:  Mike Stutzman—Chair & Elder, Barb Stutzman—Elder, Sally McClintock, Peg Roy, Jenn Boland, Craig Weaver, Angie Brumbaugh, Rebecca Miller, Sienna Ash, Audrey Hay

April 28: Peg Roy–Chair, Isabel Shumaker, Henry Cook, Mike Boyer

Devotional Resources for Lent:  

Walking Through Lent In Prayer  is the this year’s theme for Lent.  Besides worship, Bible study, and Sunday School, we have the following offerings to help you pray your way through Lent and draw closer to God.  

The Daily Pastor’s Prayer Petition.  The daily petition is your invitation to be united with others in our church family and network of friends as we pray for various individuals, mission partners, and causes in our world.  Please email Pastor Matt if you’d like to subscribe to the Daily Pastor’s Prayer Petition and receive the daily email.  His address is jmdeal@gmail.com.  

 

 Illustrated Children’s Ministry has a great intergenerational resource for individuals and families.  The “Seven Last Words” Devotional Guide will take you through the final hours of Christ’s life and will offer prompts for prayer and acts of devotion.

 

An “Illustrated Lent For Families:  Reflections on Prayer” offer activities for families to guide them through the season of Lent.  This resource is a great opportunity for families to build their spiritual life together through prayer.  

Worship & Fellowship Opportunities During Lent

Worship Opportunities:

  • Somerset Area Ministries (SAM):  Lenten Community Worship Services will be held each Wednesday during Lent at First United Methodist Church at 12:00pm.  There will be a fellowship meal following each service (with the exception of Good Friday).

Holy Week Services:

Holy Week (April 14th-21st) is a sacred time in the life of the church.  During the week we will come together for special worship opportunities.  I hope that you will join us during this holy time for worship, prayer, repentance, and praise of our risen Lord.

Maundy Thursday:  April 18th, the service will begin at 7:00pm. We will commemorate the Lord’s Supper and celebrate with the children who will partake of their first Holy Communion.

Good Friday:  April 19th, will be the traditional Tenebrae Service (Service of Darkness).  The Adult Sunday School Class will lead us in worship. Service begins at 7:00pm. 

The Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, April 21st, will be held in the Union Cemetery with a procession leaving the church at 6:30am. (weather permitting).  We will meet in the Edgewood Avenue Narthex.  The service will be followed by a breakfast served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be led by our Youth Group and Confirmation Class.

Easter Worship:  Begins at 9:30a.m. and will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

The Family Prepares:  For a Child’s First Communion

When?  Sunday, April 14th, Time TBD depending on participant’s schedules 

Where? Youth Room

Why?  Once a month we celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  For many, joining in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a very special occasion.  Many young people in our church have picked up on the significance of the Sacrament.  Some have even asked me if they can join their parents and the rest of us in partaking of the bread and cup.  Traditionally, a child first partakes of Communion after he or she is Confirmed, however, the growing interest of some parents and children, as well as the theological understanding that all who are baptized should have access to the Lord’s Supper has compelled your pastor and church council to offer The Family Prepares.  

What’s it About?  The Family Prepares will kick off with the sharing of food…The Lord’s Supper is, after all, a time to share food and fellowship.  We’ll each together just like Jesus and his disciples!  We’ll learn about the importance of the Lord’s Supper and why God wants us to come to the table.   

Who Should Attend?  All children and their families who wish to partake of Holy Communion for the first time on Maundy Thursday (Thursday, April 18th at 7:00pm).  Ultimately, parents must make the first decision if their child is mature enough to participate in the Communion service.  Age is not the issue, maturity is.  Does your child have the ability to understand the importance of the Meal?  If so, please speak with Pastor Matt and sign up.  There will be a sign up sheet at the back of the sanctuary.

Save the date for Community Vacation Bible School!  This year’s Community VBS will be June 24th-28th.  Children from 3 years old to 6th grade are invited to attend.  This year’s Bible school will be a cooperative effort between 4 partner churches.  As is the case every year, we need adult and teen helpers to make our VBS a success.  Please talk to Pastor Matt or Jenn Boland if you are interested in helping!

Easter Egg Hunt & Party!  

Our annual egg hunt and party will be following worship on Palm Sunday, April 14th.  Children and families are invited to gather in Fellowship Hall for the festivities.  Following the egg hunt, games, and crafts, a pizza lunch will be served.  Weather permitting, the egg hunt will be held outside.

A sign up sheet for donations of hardboiled, dyed eggs, and bite-sized, pre-wrapped candy will be posted on the nursery door.  Please put your name on the sign-up sheet if you’d like to help provide treats for the egg hunt.  This year we do not need any plastic eggs.  We could also use adult and teen volunteers to help with the party festivities.  Please talk to Pastor Matt or Jenn Boland if you’d like to help.

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April’s Mission Offering Is Camp Living Waters

April 2, 2019

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Living Waters Camp and Conference Center is our mission partner for April. For the past 54 years Living Waters has provided camping, educational, and worship opportunities for all age groups throughout the year.   Most of their children’s camps are offered during the month of July.  The theme for this year is Peace Talks and includes programs for kids from Kindergarten through High School.  Living Waters also has rental facilities that will accommodate individual tent camping as well as RV’s.  In August they sponsor a Golf Outing and can provide housing for a variety of retreats.

Please contact the church office if you’re interested in attending camp.  Scholarships are available!

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April’s Newsletter

April 2, 2019

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Children’s Church: Helping Kids Worship God!

November 14, 2018

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We are very excited about our brand new children’s ministry!  Children’s Church is for kids 5 years-old through 5th grade.  Participants will begin worship in the Sanctuary with their parents or guardians and will leave for Children’s Church following the Time for Children.  They will conclude their time at the close of the regular worship service.  The children can be picked up outside of the CE Room.

What is Children’s Church?

It’s a brand new worship opportunity for some of our youngest church family members.  Children’s Church will engage kids in worship at their level while also keeping a common worship theme with the regular worship service.  This will give children the opportunity to worship God at an age appropriate level and also engage with parents and guardians around the shared theme between the two services.

The Children’s Church worship space will be set up in the CE Room at the end of the hallway in the education wing.  We would appreciate prayers and volunteers to help us as we get this new ministry up and running.  Adults and youth are needed to help lead each service and provide programming support as we prepare each week.  Please speak with our Children’s Church Coordinator Jenn Boland or Pastor Matt if you’d like to help.  Both can be reached through calling the church, 814-445-4534

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Holy Week Services

March 29, 2018

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Holy Week (April 14-21) is a sacred time in the life of the church.  During the week we will come together for special worship opportunities.  I hope that you will join us during this holy time for worship, prayer, repentance, and praise of our risen Lord.

Maundy Thursday:  April 18th, the service will begin at 7:00pm. We will commemorate the Lord’s Supper and celebrate with the children who will partake of their first Holy Communion.

Good Friday:  April 19th, will be the traditional Tenebrae Service (Service of Darkness).  The Adult Sunday School Class will lead us in worship. Service begins at 7:00pm.

The Easter Sunrise Service:  Sunday, April 21st, will be held in the Union Cemetery with a procession leaving the church at 6:30am. (weather permitting).  We will meet in the Edgewood Avenue Narthex.  The service will be followed by a breakfast served in the fellowship hall.  The service will be led by our Youth Group and Confirmation Class.

Easter Breakfast:  You are invited to join us for our annual Easter breakfast!  The breakfast will be in Fellowship Hall following the Easter Sunrise Service (around 7:15am).  Many thanks to the Men’s Brotherhood for sponsoring this wonderful event!

Easter Worship:  Begins at 9:30a.m. and will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

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