“Hope Together, Grow in Faith”
Hello all and happy Fall!
It is so nice to see the return of some cooler weather, and the return of a fuller newsletter! There are many creative events that are happening over the next month. While the church is still not being used for many in-person functions, the smaller meetings that are happening this month will be taking extra care to be safe as some are gathering for the first time in a long time. It is an encouraging sight to see!
There are also a host of activities that will be happening outside with the appropriate social distancing like the return of Stuart Cramer’s spooky cemetery tours of our historical cemetery. Our new children and youth director, Mrs. Jill, has hit the ground running and set up a great movie event just in time for a little Halloween and All Saints Day fun that you can have in your own home watching some friendly or spooky films. Outdoor worship is giving us a few chilly mornings, but our hearts are warm and we will continue those services the rest of October. We’ve been trying some new ideas with our digital worship as well, and if you’ve not watch our Jazz Vespers from last week, you can watch it on our Facebook page, or click here to check it out! This Sunday we’ll have a blessing of the animals in both our digital and outside worship. It will be literally a wild time. Get ready!
All in all, a newsletter this full tells me that even though we are still a bit off balance with what a normal Fall in the church would be, we are thriving and continuing to do God’s work pressing forward together. We have had a setback with a new HVAC system that will be required for the sanctuary, so make sure to read finance’s article for the plan of how we intend to replace that unit. But, in the words my Momma probably told me hundreds of times growing up, “This is why we save and are thoughtful with our money.”
Of course the other question on my mind is the upcoming plan for when we can no longer continue outdoor worship due to the cold. Most likely, when we arrive at November it will simply be too cold to spend any long period of time sitting outside comfortably. The goal of our next Session meeting is to weigh the options before us and develop a plan accordingly for how and what comes next with in person worship. Session meets on October 19, so be looking for that letter and those details to be mailed and emailed out in the days following that meeting.
Oh and last but certainly not least, keep those Crisis Assistance Ministry donations coming as the need is still great for many families especially as we get into colder weeks and food money becomes needed for heat money. Same need goes for the coat drive Circle #3 is having for the Women’s Shelter. You’ll see more about how you can help in those articles.
As always, if the church can be of any assistance to you or yours, please let me know! It’s a joy to follow God in this world together.
wednesday night fellowship
Our Zoom Wednesday Night Fellowship will resume on September 9 at 7:00 p.m. We will be studying an N.T. Wright series called “The New Testament You Never Knew: Exploring the Context, Purpose, and Meaning of the Story of God.” This discussion and DVD based eight week Bible study has a helpful companion study guide for following along. While the study guide is in no way required to participate in the study, it can be helpful for more information about each topic. If you would like a study guide they are ten dollars, and will be available at outdoor worship for pick up. If you cannot make it by the church to pick up a study guide, call the office and the church will mail you one! Hope you can join us Wednesday nights at 7:00!
A Note from the Finance Committee
Thank you for your continued support through your prayers, finances and talents. We met expenses in August for which we are very thankful. God continues to bless us as we navigate through this unique time in our church’s life.
And on another note – nothing lasts forever and so we share with you that our Sanctuary air conditioning system has quit working and is beyond repair. This system was installed during the 60’s so we have certainly gotten our money’s worth from it. George (Property Chair) has spent many hours working with HVAC companies to find the best price possible for the best system possible. It is not an easy task to install a new sanctuary system and requires special equipment to remove the existing system from the roof and install the new system. Our new system will cost $32,000 which is an excellent price. We owe a debt of gratitude to George for his dedication to the church to find the best possible solution for us.
We will take up a special offering on Sunday, October 25 to help pay for the new system and ask that you prayerfully consider how you can support the church through the special offering. If you wish to contribute financially but are not able to attend the outside morning worship service on October 25, you may mail/deliver your contribution to the church office or contribute through the Tithe.ly app (be sure to select Sanctuary-Special Offering on the app) at any time during the month of October.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~Max Lucado
Children and youth news
In Deuteronomy 6 God commands the Israelites and ultimately you and me, to keep the Commandments in their/our hearts and to recite them to your children and “talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.” A tall order for any parent to do alone but thankfully this message from God through Moses was delivered to all the Israelites and to all of us in the church. I am so excited to join in this pursuit of leading and teaching the children and youth of New Hope Presbyterian and partner with the congregation and parents and grandparents.
Let me introduce myself, I grew up in Northern Virginia in horse country and attended Shenandoah University graduating with a B.S. in Elementary Education which I never really used. I always felt a “call” to ministry on me but having grown up in a small Lutheran Congregation I had never heard of a Christian Educator. I worked in the business world throughout my twenties never feeling fully satisfied and always volunteering with my local congregation in Youth Ministry. I moved to Florida during that time and discovered Lakewood Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. I felt home there and discovered the position of Director of Christian Education and met my wonderful husband, Brad too, who just happens to be the son of a presbyterian minister. We moved to the Charlotte area and made it our home and started our family. We now have two almost grown children Ross and Meghan. Meghan has one more year of high school and Ross is heading to Photography school in Fall 2021.
When the children were small, I decided to pursue that ‘call’ and I enrolled at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte and graduated with my Masters in Christian Education. While studying at Union, I interned at First Presbyterian Church – Belmont and taught preschool at Myers Park Presbyterian Church for a year. I also worked part-time at First Presbyterian Church – Mt. Holly for three years during which time my family moved to Belmont. Upon completion of my MACE degree, I was ‘called’ to First Presbyterian Church – Gastonia as their Director of Children’s Ministry. I spent seven wonderful years at FPC-Gastonia and left to pursue another direction in ministry as a consultant to churches in Faith Formation Resources and Intergenerational ministry.
I am currently working on equipping leaders in small churches to be their own Faith Formation leaders a passion of mine. Working at New Hope Presbyterian Church will allow me to keep my skills fresh and give me a bit of flexibility.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know you all. Please call me or email me with any questions, ideas, or concerns you have. I’ll see you soon!
Due to the “Blessing of the Animals Service” on October 4, communion will be on October 11. On the 11, we will celebrate a belated World Communion Sunday in both the digital 11:00 a.m. service and the outside 9:00 a.m. service. For the digital service, make sure you have a juice and bread option at home. It’ll look a little different, but God meets us in this meal all the same!
circle #3 is Meeting October 5
Circle #3 will meet on Monday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Make sure to wear a mask! If you need a circle book they are located in the church parlor.
Blessing of the animals: october 4
Sunday, October 4, during our 9:00 a.m. outdoor and 11:00 a.m. digital worship we are having a Creation Care themed service which will largely include a “Blessing of the Animals.” If you’ve never heard of this type of service it is worth your time to google and check a few of them out. The idea behind this type of service is to acknowledge God as Lord of heaven and earth, which also includes the variety of animals that are part of our families. In some ways this service sounds like a modern idea, but the roots are ancient as the early church understood far better than we do how deeply connected and dependent our faith is on God’s creation. Much of this service uses liturgy from Saint Francis of Assisi who lived in the 11th century and is held by many denominations as the saint of animals and the environment. He also gave us quotes like, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching” and the founding words of what became the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King.
If you have an animal that you love and would like to have blessed, you are invited to bring your dog, cat, hamster, hermit crab, lizard, or whatever pet you call part of your family to the 9 a.m. service or 11 a.m. digital service. Just a disclaimer from the start; there is no possible way this service will not be border line out of control, but a little shake up is sometimes good for us Presbyterians.
As we’ve done in years past, high school students from Stuart Cramer’s drama class, instructed by New Hope’s own Chuck Stowe, will be giving guided tours of our historic cemetery dressed in spooky period piece costumes. While this of course helps the drama students learn and perfect their acting skills, many other students are involved in the planning and research of this event. It’s a great way to help one of our local schools and learn about some of our own history as a community and church. If you’d like to attend this event it will be happening October 15-17 and 22-24 from 7:00-10:00. The cost of the tour is $5.00. If you plan on attending the drama students will be taking great precautions for social distancing during their tours and make sure to wear a mask.
Scandanavian almond cakes for sale!
The Women of the Church will be holding their annual Scandinavian Cake Sale again this year and we hope that you will support this important fund raiser with your orders.
All the proceeds from the sale will be used to support various needs of the Church. We will be baking a limited number of cakes this year (first-come, first-served) so please get your orders to us as early as possible so you will not be left out. The price of the cakes remains the same, at $10.00 each. Place your orders by calling Gloria.
Collection for Gastonia’s Women Shelter
Circle #3 is again requesting your help! During the month of October, Circle #3 will be collecting gently used coats, gloves, scarves and hats for women and children to be delivered to the Women’s Shelter in Gastonia. Last year’s collection was very successful and the need is always great. If you would like to contribute, please place those items in the boxes by the church office by October 30. Thank you for helping with this worthy cause!
Blood Drive Coordinator Needed
Volunteer Needed! Please consider serving as the coordinator for our blood drives. The coordinator works with the Red Cross in scheduling blood donors at our three drives each year. This is a great opportunity to serve our church and community. If you are interested in serving as the coordinator contact Sue Hawkins.
crisis assistance ministry
Thank you to everyone who dropped off cans this month at the church. We collected six bags. The need is still great, and we will be collecting again on Sunday, August 9th at our 9:00 a.m. service. Or, feel free to drop by the church anytime, and place your CAM donations in the container outside the office.
The Service Committee reports we collected 11 bags for CAM last month. The following items are needed for our next collection.
Regular and Instant Grits
Regular and Instant Oatmeal
Pancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Fruit (Pineapple, Pears, Fruit cocktail &Peaches)
Small Bags of Sugar, Flour & Rice
Canned Meat (Tuna, Salmon, Chicken, Spam & Beef Stew)
Condiments (Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup etc.)
Tomato and Progresso Soup (Only)
Small containers of Laundry Detergent
Shampoo and Bar Soap