Category Archives: Inspiring Stories of What God is doing…

Church News around the Presbytery

Presbyterian Church of Jersey Shore

International Evangelism

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Florentine and the Treasures of the Snow

Carrie S book coverFlorentine and the Treasures of the Snow is a newly published children’s book by Herb and Carrie Stine

What’s a girl mouse to do when she discovers snow for the first time in her life? Join Florentine and her friends on the adventure of a lifetime from snowball fights to high speed sledding on a kitchen spoon to dealing with the local bullies. Florentine and the Treasures of the Snow is the first of a series of stories designed to teach children about God’s Word through Florentine’s adventures. In this first book, Florentine and her brother, Baxter, learn about God’s creation through a winter snowstorm. This would be a great book for parents and grandparents to read to their children. Children ages nine through twelve would enjoy reading this book.
This book is available in Amazon as a paperback book and Kindle reader or contact Carrie Stine (drcarriestine@gmail.com) for a signed copy.


To purchase go to Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Florentine-Treasures-Snow-Herb-Stine/dp/0692440526

Family Care for Children and Youth

At Family Care for Children & Youth, our passion is not just for doing our job, but for doing it well so that children find the stability they need, families are able to provide caring affection, and home is a place that feels safe.

We start by finding families within the community who are ready and willing to provide for children needing loving homes, carefully teaching them the proven techniques, theories and responses so that the children in their care grow strong and able to form positive connections. In this way, our families are able to become successful, creating a home environment where any child can feel safe and wanted.

While we are dedicated to every case and every child, we need all the help we can get! We are always looking for loving families who are ready to take a child into their home. If you or someone you know is willing to help by opening your doors to provide respite, emergency, or permanent care for a child who needs you, then contact us today! We encourage all of our families to always consider adoption as an option for children who cannot return to their families—a plight which has affected the lives of so many children in Pennsylvania.

With five offices located around Pennsylvania, there is a location near you! Call now and see how you can help us change lives, one child at a time.

Family Care Foster Parents

Friends of Renacer

Hogar Renacer means Home of Rebirth, and it is just that to the children who live there and the friends who visit. One of the projects supported by Asociación Brigadas de Amor Cristiano, Hogar Rencer is in turn supported by churches and individuals from many countries.

Friends of Renacer is an ecumenical support network for the children’s home and the connected the Christian school, which serves the community. We are based in northern central Pennsylvania. Our teams visit and work at Renacer two weeks each summer.

Visit their facebook page to see how this ministry makes a difference in someone’s life.

 

 

 

Northway Presbyterian Church

Bright Sunday’ adds humor to service at Northway PC

People don’t normally associate humor with the Bible, especially around the Easter season. Pastor Taylor Camerer isn’t one of those people.

Taylor-CamererAn eight-week pulpit supply pastor at Northway Presbyterian Church in Williamsport, PA, Taylor began his two-month stay on the Sunday after Easter with a sermon that was called “Bright Sunday.” Taking ideas from “Holy Humor Sunday” in which some pastors use as an opportunity to dress in costumes for a light-hearted Sunday worship, Taylor didn’t go quite that far in his very first Sunday at Northway PC. Instead, he just preached about how humor is very much a part of the Bible and how it should be embraced.

“There’s an old tradition in the church, rooted in the early church theologians who saw a practical joke played on the devil when Jesus was raised from the dead,” Taylor said. “So Easter was a God-supreme joke played on death. On either Easter Monday — the Monday right after Easter Sunday — or Bright Sunday — the Sunday after Easter – they were kind of days of joy and laughter, parties and picnics, pot lucks to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. There was a tradition of practical jokes. There was a lot of water being thrown back in the day – drenching people with water, baptizing so to speak – singing and dancing. There was a tradition of telling jokes and telling stories with a twist at the end that end unexpectedly with a laugh.”

Taylor included about a half dozen stories or light-hearted tales that had surprise endings in his service on April 12. Because it was his first service, he kept it fairly low key compared to what some churches were doing elsewhere.

The Fellowship of Merry Christians is an organization that highlights different ideas on how to celebrate “Bright Sunday.” One church in North Carolina has a pastor who delivers his sermon dressed as a medieval jester with a sermon on I Corinthians 4:10 titled “Fools For Christ’s Sake.” Another congregation in Missouri put up a sign that read “If you must sleep in on Sunday, sleep in here.” The church then laid out sleeping bags on the back pews and actually allowed for a few minutes for naps during the service.

Adding a humorous element to the service can be a pleasant change for some worshipers.

“God so often uses tragedy and suffering and difficulties,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot in the world that is sobering and sombering but there’s a difference between being serious and solemn and just kind of being sour.”

Among the most recognizable ways the Bible uses tragedy to send a message is around Easter when Jesus dies on the cross only to have the stone rolled away from the tomb and find out he had risen from the dead. Taylor is quick to point out that there definitely was a party-like atmosphere outside the tomb when word quickly spread of the resurrection.

“There was a euphoria, a hilarity, an unspeakable gladness that your sins had been forgiven,” Taylor said. “To be glad and to not be fearful is an imperative in the Bible. There is a victory over death, but the twist is what men meant for evil, God meant for good.”

Ultimately, injecting some laughter into a service now and again, or devoting an entire sermon to Biblical humor once a year the week after Easter, can help people better understand the way in which God works.

“Part of humor and making things unexpected in church at times is part of listening for God because he arrives in unexpected ways and unexpected times,” Taylor said. “If you have everything planned out and thought out and it’s always the same, you’re not really doing a very good job of preparing people to find God.”

by Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity

Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church

Knitting ministry has Bald Eagle United PC in stitches

American troops are involved. So are women recovering from breast cancer and newborn children. Guys in their leather jackets on Harley-Davidson motorcycles are pitching in, too. What was originally taken as a leap of faith seven years ago has quickly grown into something very special at Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church in Mill Hall, PA.Prayer Shawls Bald Eagle UPC

The church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry is in its seventh year and has grown immensely from its humble beginnings. Originally created to knit shawls to give comfort to those facing surgery or other hardships, the ministry now includes everything from prosthesis to “Pocket Prayer Shawls for Troops” to “Pretty Pockets,” which are given to people who are coming home from the hospital with post-surgical drains like a colostomy bag.

The brainchild of Pastor Susan Champion, the ministry has grown from just a couple of worshipers from Bald Eagle United PC to 30 people from the Mill Hall community who are eager to knit and crochet. One knitter is over 104 years old, and the volunteers are supplying their own yarn to keep the program running cost-free, adding to the powerful ministry this has become.

“When I started it, I did it on a wing and a prayer,” Susan said. “I did not know if anyone would come through that door or not but they did. They came and those who came wanted to give back because they had either been healed of cancer or someone in their family had been healed of cancer and they wanted to do something for a ministry.”

The gatherings occur at noon on the first Wednesday of the month and consist of lunch and a couple hours of knitting and sharing. For most, the bulk of the knitting occurs in their homes prior to the monthly gathering where much of the conversation includes the reading of “thank you” notes from people who have received the handmade items, enabling the volunteers to feel the joy for the items they have created.

“It’s only through the grace of God that I have not had to ask the church for one single penny,” Susan said. “We provide all of the yarn. We provide lunches for everyone. We provide the needles and the patterns, the fellowship and the fun.”

While knitting prayer shawls as a type of comfort blanket distributed to those facing illness was the original intent, the Prayer Shawl Ministry has developed into much more. Knitters have come in requesting to make things like children’s clothes, which are now being given to every Mill Hall couple with a newborn. And thus the “Infant Sweater Ministry” was born. Another person came up with the idea of creating “Pretty Pockets” as a fashionable holder for post-surgical drains, and this outreach was organized.

Among its most popular items being created through the so-called “Wednesday Weavers” group is prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies. Susan came up with the idea after reading about such a thing in Reader’s Digest, and it has taken off by leaps and bounds.

“I found out there is no place where people who had mastectomies – and 40 percent of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have to have mastectomies – there was no place where they could go to get a free kit for prosthesis,” she said. “If you have insurance you can get prosthesis but they are made of silicone and very heavy. These are hand-knitted and made out of special yarn that’s skin sensitive. We make them in sizes and we weight them.”

Many times women who go through this procedure can’t wear the prosthesis until they are healed from the surgery, but the knitted ones from Bald Eagle United PC can be worn immediately.

“Oftentimes women cannot get their prosthesis because they have to heal, so they have to go around with socks in their bra, but ours you can put in right away,” Susan said. “We have had calls from all over the United States. … We have one lady who stepped up to the plate and she said ‘My mom died from breast cancer. I want this part of the ministry.’

“We’re the only organization in the state of Pennsylvania that does this. I find it very interesting that it’s a church, and it should be.”Prayer-Shawls3 Bald Eagle UPC

Another outreach that is fairly new to the Wednesday group is “Pocket Prayer Shawls for Troops.” These 2.5-inch squares are sent to American military for them to wear in their helmets. They are knitted or crocheted from either cotton or wool – other materials will melt to a soldier’s head if they are under fire — and come with a tag explaining their purpose.

“We’re starting with 1,000. We have people already asking us when they are going to be ready,” Susan said. “But we’re not just going to stop there. We’re taking these Pocket Prayer Shawls to emergency rooms, to hospital waiting rooms, to nursing homes and putting them in baskets for anyone who is walking by and needs to hold something in their hand — something tangible so they know that God is working in their lives.”

Other items that are being made include celebration shawls, lap robes, comfort dolls for infants, mittens, scarves, booties and neo-nic sweaters and hats. One way of getting these items to the people who need and request them is through the Susquehanna Valley Big Twins Motorcycle Club. The club does a yearly “Knit N Run” on their cycles, delivering the knitted goods to places like hospitals and nursing homes.

The Bald Eagle United knitters don’t take orders, they just make what they can make and send them out to those in need.

Praye ShawlsKnit-N-Run-Bald Eagle UPC“We pray over these items,” Susan said. “We don’t know where they’re going to end up, but we just know whoever receives these, our prayer is that God’s peace and his presence just surrounds them. We pray that they are able to feel the presence of God working in their lives. These items are tangible evidence that other people care.”

Susan, who admits she has never made a prayer shawl in the seven years of the ministry, is quick to credit the volunteers for what this ministry has turned into.

“I give all of the glory and all of the credit to our Lord and also these wonderful ladies,” she said. “I’m in awe. We’re non-denominational. When we come together, we are all knitters, and we’re doing something to advance God’s kingdom.”

Note: Anyone interested in learning more about the knitting ministry at Bald Eagle United Presbyterian Church or who would like to request an item should contact the church at (570) 726-4112 or email Pastor Susan Champion at ms_champion@comcast.net. The prosthesis kits are free to anyone and there are no mailing restrictions. When ordering a kit, a size for the prosthesis will be needed.

by Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity

Presbyterian Mission Agency

Missions
Meet mission co-workers Michael and Rachel Ludwig

Michael Rachel Ludwig
About 70 percent of the people in Niger cannot read or write and have no easily accessible way to learn how. Michael and Rachel and their Nigerien partners want to change that. They are starting a literacy ministry in this deeply impoverished country. Their efforts will make Nigeriens’ day-to-day lives better and boost their chances for a brighter economic future. It will also help our partners present a respectful Christian witness in this predominantly Muslim, and typically peaceful, country. Though Niger has experienced riots and church burnings recently, our partners and the Ludwigs remain hopeful. Thanks to the prayers and financial support of people like you, numerous Nigeriens stand to gain the gift of literacy.

Please make a gift to support Michael and Rachel Ludwig and other Presbyterian mission co-workers.

Pray For Our Missionaries – December

burkhard_petzold_001-2_medium250Burkhard Paetzold ~ Mission co-worker in Germany  since 1998
Serving as regional liaison for Central and Eastern Europe
and facilitator of work with the Roma people.

As regional liaison Burkhard Paetzold helps connect Presbyterians in the United States with partner churches and programs in Eastern and Central Europe. He also implements regional strategies and provides support for mission personnel. Much of his ministry is with the Roma people of Central and Eastern Europe. Formerly referred to as “Gypsies,” a term now considered pejorative, they have encountered discrimination and oppression for centuries. Burkhard works with partners to promote the participation of Roma in congregational and church life, develop Roma leadership, and improve the economic development and education for Roma.

Burkhard Paetzold is helping PC(USA) partner churches to get a fresh vision of the Christian faith that transcends old divisions and builds on new opportunities. “Christians and non-Christians need to be enabled to see Christianity in a new light,” Burkhard says. “The challenge for Christians is to work for peace, justice and the integrity of creation and to communicate expressions of faith, hope and solidarity within a seemingly overwhelming “new world‟ of greed, selfishness and material temptations.”  {you can read more on Burkhard by clicking here ~ presbyterianmission.org mission connections – paetzold-burkhard/

You can also download a prayer card here ~ Prayer Card

 

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

See what PDA is doing by clicking on the video link.

First: Self-care for volunteers

Second: Ministry of Presence ( It underlines that the most important thing we do when go on a work team in response to disaster is become a “presence” to come along side and support the survivors)

Third: Becoming a hosting center (Plenty of good information for getting involved in disaster response)