New Hope Herald
“Hope Together, Grow in Faith”
MARCH 2020

Minister’s Message
Friends, the season of Lent has arrived, and my prayer is it can be for you a time of remembering what matters, and “letting go” of what does not matter in your life as much. This is a great opportunity for a renewed focus on faith and spirituality, and to reconnect with God or yourself in an intentional way. Often we do this in Lent by making time for prayer, wondering about deeper mysteries of life, sitting outside, serving others, reading the Bible, and other disciplines that help us notice the world coming back to life and God in the midst of this change. The word “Lent” after all comes from an old English word for “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening of those long-anticipated days of spring. With both the cross and the empty tomb approaching, the church prepares itself with forty days of fasting and reflection, all for the sake of more fully celebrating Easter when it arrives in 40ish days. I have often begun my own Lenten practice with poetry, as poets are more in tune with both the world and God. They are masters of observing the world in ways we often miss, and definitely are a preacher’s closest cousin. One of my favorite poets for Lent is Mary Oliver, who has written extensively about paying attention and prayer. Here is one of her poems called “Storage,” which reminds us every now and then spiritually we have to lighten the load.

“When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room for. 
What does one do? 
I rented a storage space. And filled it. Years passed. 
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more important. 
So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took everything.
I felt like the little donkey when
his burden was finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful fire! 
More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own nothing –
the reason they can fly.”

I hope over the next six weeks, we can all make “a beautiful fire” for those things in our lives which are weighing us down emotionally and spiritually. How might a season of fasting from “things” free us to fly? I hope we find out together! 

Children & Youth News
Hello Everyone! February was quite a busy month for the Youth. They had quite an exciting time snowless tubing with the children of the church. The youth also had a spaghetti lunch after service in February to discuss the adventures in Disney with each other and Pastor Chris. The youth enjoyed the time spent together on such a wonderful trip!

Looking forward to March! The youth and children are going to have a busy month. On March 8 the youth will have their first service project in the community helping the Cathy Mabry Cloninger Center in a variety of ways. March 14 and 21- Two Saturdays, the youth and children will be having their annual pine needle sale. This fundraiser for the church helps in planning activities for the children and youth throughout the year. Mark your calendar for March 29, you do not want to miss that Sunday when we celebrate the second annual youth and children’s service. They will be participating throughout the service and will have a few surprises in store for the church!

Thank you to everyone that believes in and supports our youth and children! Your donations and time make our activities possible.

Many Blessings, 
Max Michaels

Mark Your Calendars!

Communion: Sunday, March 1
Circle #3: Monday, March 2 at 7pm
Morning Circle: Tuesday, March 3 at 10am
Adult Education: Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00 pm
Finance Committee: Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00 pm
Youth Committee: Tuesday, March 3  at 7:00 p.m.
Five-Cents/ CAM Offering: Sunday, March 8
Session: Monday, March 9 at 7pm
Pine Needle sale March 14 and 21 
Bible Study Wednesday March 18
Greek Orthodox Speaker 6pm
Scouts every Monday at 6:30pm (camping on March 27 at Hut)
Newsletter Deadline: March 23
Offering for Black Mountain/Youth Sunday : Sunday March 29
Choir Practice: Every Tuesday at 6 pm
Bible Study & Supper: Every Wednesday at 6 pm, studying Revelation
To print out the calendars for the next three months,please click here.

Crisis Assistance Ministry
The Service Committee reports we collected 5 bags for CAM last month. The following items are needed for our next collection on March 8 during worship.
Items Needed:
Regular and Instant Grits
Regular and Instant Oatmea
lPancake Mix and Syrup
Canned Fruit (Pineapple, Pears, Fruit cocktail &Peaches)
Cooking Oil
Canned Potatoes
Instant Potatoes
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
Tissue Paper
Shampoo and Bar Soap

Pine Needle Sale- March 14 and March 21
It is the time of year for the children and youth committee pine needle fundraiser, and there are several ways to help! If you would like to purchase pine needles they are $4.50 a bale with free delivery for orders of 10 or more. We also need volunteers to help deliver, and there is a need for a few more trucks or flatbeds to speed up the delivery process. The money we collect helps fund youth and children events, as well as other items for the church.
You can call the office between the hours of 8:00 am and 1:00 pm to place your orders. You can also volunteer by calling the office; all help is appreciated. 

Have You Heard We Are Getting New Hymnals?
It is called “Glory to God!” 
As we often do with a new hymnal, if you’d like to dedicate a hymnal as a memorial or in honor of someone that is certainly possible. To dedicate a hymnal the cost is twenty dollars, which will help offset the final total cost to replace all the hymnals. There will be a form available in the entrance of the sanctuary, much like we do when we dedicate poinsettias. We will collect dedications until March 29 to insure plenty of time and spread the word. If you’d like more information on how to dedicate a hymnal, feel free to call the church office, and be sure to look for the dedication form next week.  

Guest Speakers from St. Nektarios Greek Othodox Church on Wednesday, March 18! It is easy with our own bubble of Protestantism to forget there are other Christian traditions that go back much further in time. The Greek Orthodox Church is one such example, even predating the Catholic Church. They represent an entire different branch on the tree of faith many of us may not be as familiar with or understand. The Adult Education Committee has invited two guest speakers from the St. Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church to help us better understand the Greek Orthodox tradition and how it relates to our own. Bring your questions and curiosity as we explore topics like the veneration of saints and icons! This will be in place of our Wednesday Night Bible Study. Dinner is still at 6:00 pm and the presentation will start at 6:30 pm. Here is a little more information about our presenters Kathryn and Dennis.”Kathryn (Kabee) and Dennis Kokenes met when they were 7 years old and students in the Greek School at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Charlotte, NC.Dennis was born into the Orthodox Christian Faith, and Kathryn converted to Orthodoxy when she was 15. They grew up together worshipping at Holy Trinity. Pursuit of their careers took them both to Boston, MA after college where they began to date and became engaged. While there, they attended services at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, and were able to take several continuing education religion classes together there.Since marrying in 1990, they have taught catechism classes together in Atlanta and Charlotte, and are founding members of the 2nd Greek Orthodox Church in Charlotte, St. Nektarios. The  Church is now in its 21st year. There, Dennis has spent time as leader of the choir, served on the Parish Council, and taught adult education classes about the symbolism and didactic nature of icons. Kabee established and directed the Youth Catechism Department for the first 10 years of that ministry. She currently serves on the Youth Advisory Board at St. Nektarios.They look forward to meeting with you and answering your questions about Orthodoxy in March!”Wednesday Night Fellowship Wednesday night dinner and Bible study will be spending a lot of time with the book of Revelation in the coming weeks! Come learn about this often mysterious, (if not misunderstood) fascinating book. Dinner starts at 6:00 p.m. and Bible study at 6:30 p.m. If you cannot make both, come to one! 


Please join us for an evening of food and fellowship. Food and drinks will be provided. You do not need to bring anything – just show up! We will enjoy a hot dog dinner together and visit with our church family.

Session Highlights! 
Discussed and finalized advertising plan with Gaston Alive.Discussed preparations to host the Stardusters Big Band.Finalized plan for playground preschool fundraiser and improvements to play area behind church.Youth will be volunteering at Women’s Shelter in March.Organized plan to make improvements to Scout Hutt and continued discussion of improvements to new “multi-purpose room” downstairs.New hymnals will be arriving this month for the choir.Lay

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The New Hope Herald contains news and announcements for the ministry of New Hope Presbyterian Church, Gastonia, NC.