Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bishop Park on our response to the Nepal earthquake



"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way....
and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1, 2b, 3b)
"O LORD, come quickly to help me .... You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay." (Psalm 40: 13b, 17b)
April 28, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, the Prince of shalom, Healer of our brokenness, and Hope of the world!
The powerful earthquake in Nepal that occurred a few days ago has resulted in the death of thousands of persons with thousands more injured. The numbers are sure to rise. Unknown as yet is the full impact this calamity will have on the lives of the people who are mostly poor and without the needed resources. Truly, our hearts are heavy with sorrow and grief. Accordingly, I call upon all Susquehanna Conference United Methodists to pray fervently for the people of Nepal, for those most directly affected, and for those who are part of the efforts to bring relief to this suffering country.
I am heartened to know that our church is already responding to the urgent situation. Our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been in touch from the earliest hours with our missionaries and mission partners in Nepal. We can be sure that whatever we will do will bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ in a significant way and that our church will be there as long as it is needed for relief and recovery.
I solicit our churches to receive offerings for UMCOR for its response to the earthquake in Nepal. You may send your checks to the Treasurer's Office of the Susquehanna Conference at 303 Mulberry Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050. Please make checks payable to the "Susquehanna Annual Conference" and note for "UMCOR Advance #982450" in the check memo line. To make an immediate donation, click here to give. One hundred percent of all monies received will go to the cause.
Thanks be to God for the generous people of Susquehanna Conference. Indeed we make a difference in the broken world with the love of God. Our prayers and gifts bring healing and hope to the countless numbers of hurting people for such a time as this.
With You in Christ's Ministry,
Bishop's Letter Footer






And

Sunday School


Thanks to all the teachers and leaders who make our church school possible!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore

Cynthia-Moore-Baltimore-Riots
By Melissa Lauber and Erik Alsgaard

Fire from burning cars lit some of Baltimore’s streets Monday night, April 27. Looters seemed to strike indiscriminately. As darkness began to fall that night, fear of what lay ahead between rioters and the police force grew.
The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi experienced some of this fear. But when you’re afraid, “you pray and you march on,” she said.
Moore-Koikoi, superintendent of the Baltimore Metropolitan District, prayed and then joined the city’s other clergy in a march for peace. Putting themselves between bottle-throwing demonstrators and lines of police officers with pepper spray, the pastors hit the streets.
The goal, Moore-Koikoi said, was to ease tensions and bring calm to people on the streets. Local newscasters noted the success of their efforts.
Along the way, Moore-Koikoi learned she had a guardian angel of sorts – a young man who belonged to the Crips gang. He and other gang members, some from two other rival gangs, made sure neither the police nor the rioters bothered the pastors.
When they returned to New Shiloh Baptist Church, the pastors invited the gang members in for conversation. “We ended up confessing that we had not done enough to engage them in the past,” Moore-Koikoi said. “We promised future conversations.”
It was one of those surreal and unlikely moments that stuck out in the darkness of the day’s event.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

There Are Two Ways . . .

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133:1-3
1 John 1:1-2:2
John 20:19-31

Sunday message, April 12, by Joel Shuman. (Thanks, Joel, for bringing the word while I was away. Sorry, all, for the lack of video.) 

“There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.” So begins the ancient Christian text called the Didachē, or “The Teaching of the Twelve,” produced sometime around the end of the first century—making it older, incidentally, than several New Testament texts. I won’t offer many details about this ancient catechetical document, other than to say it places the way of Jesus—his life, teachings, death and resurrection—and the difference those events make in stark contrast with business-as-usual in a world characterized by a profound brokenness manifest in unfettered self-interest and the isolation and violence it inevitably entails.
That first line from the Didachē brings to my mind another more contemporary text contrasting two distinct ways (of life). It is the poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” written by Wendell Berry, whom I regard as being among my most important mentors. It begins this way:
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Young Bells

Contact Michele to be part of our wonderful youth and children's music groups!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Filipino Discipleship and Evangelism

The March 21 family march organized by the Manila episcopal area of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines was a “force to be reckoned with,” said Homer Ortega, chair of the event. Photo by King James X. Zaimur


By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
March 25, 2015 |QUEZON CITY, Philippines
Some 9,000 United Methodists converged March 21 to pray, march together and have fellowship for the family unity and solidarity.
... The Manila episcopal area launched the United Methodist Church Disciples of Christ movement to fulfill the Great Commission. Shared with the area’s conferences by the Rev. John B. Manalo and the Rev. Elino Rivera, the movement is a discipleship and evangelism model patterned after the small-group ministry of John Wesley.
“Through the formation of DOC care groups, United Methodist church members can now be a part of small group that resembles a family-like gathering of worship, sharing and prayer,” the Rev. Jestril Alvarado said.
The family march, said Manalo, was an effort to revive devotion among United Methodist families. “This would be one concrete manifestation that UMC families are united in faith, in prayer and in fulfilling Christ’s ministry and mission here on earth.”
The event emphasized the theme of bringing families to unity, he said, by upholding spiritual disciplines like family devotion, prayer, Bible reading and meditation and other practices that will strengthen relationships and Christian values.
The Rev Elijah Lorenzo, who traveled with church members early in the morning to attend, said the Disciples of Christ movement has “clarified the vision” for soul-winning and discipleship.
“Our church must respond to the needs of younger generation,” he said. “We must rediscover the Wesleyan zeal for intimacy with God and deep passion for souls, not just preserving the institution or our buildings and practices. Study the effect of longer tenure to local church growth. Leave too much of dirty politics out of the church.”
Mangiduyos is a deaconess in the United Methodist Philippines Central Conference and a professor at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Congregational Care

Contact Mike to get connected with our Congregational Care Team. It is such a blessing to share smiles and laughter, to pray together with someone in pain, to meet Jesus in this powerful and unexpected way.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Unorthodox Way

UNORTHODOX (1)
Three Buddhists began to visit one of the groups belonging to Bread Fellowship, a Christ-centered community in Ft. Worth, Texas. In open discussion time, these guys would offer their Buddhist perspective. One of the Christian participants came to Charlie Johnson, pastor of “Bread,” and said, “You’ve got to put a stop to that.” “No,” said Charlie. “Trust me, and let’s trust Jesus to be able to hold his own.” Eventually one of the three Buddhists—a lead musician in a local rock band—declared his faith in Jesus and Charlie baptized him.
Read the whole story.

Confirmania!

Some of the confirmands, family, and mentors on their bowling night! They make their vows on Sunday 31 May.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In Mission Together - a New Paradigm


Whereas a traditional approach to mission is often needs-based, short-term relief, the new vision of partnership embraces asset-based, long-term development.  Partners commit to one another through an IMT 50/50 Partnership Covenant. It’s a sacred covenant to participate equally, 50/50, as the body of Christ by utilizing everyone’s skills and resources. A 50/50 framework prevents dependency and fosters self-sufficiency. These principles address systemic issues rather than treating symptoms. 

IMT is GLOCAL (both global and local) and equips you with core values that are cross-culturally appropriate for variety of contexts whether in the US or around the world.  We have a team of IMT Partnership Coordinators ready to assist you with training and resources to develop a 50/50 partnership within your community or another country.

See the full article.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Legacy of Leadership - 2



The 15 March covered dish social in recognition and honor of our legacy of leadership. Thanks to Jane for organizing the event!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Holy Week Cantata 2015

Thailand Mission: Creative, Sustainable

The Thailand Mission Initiative works toward sustainability.
By Rev. Karen L. Weiss

Rev. Karen L. Weiss, In Mission Together partnership coordinator for the Thailand Mission Initiative and a provisional member deacon for Susquehanna Annual Conference, shares an update concerning new sustainable mission projects in Thailand.
Gary Moon has been a Global Ministries missionary in Thailand for more than five years working alongside his wife, Cindy. Together, they are bringing their creative strengths to designing projects that are helping local communities in Thailand become self-sufficient.
One example is a farming project that the Moons helped facilitate in a village near Chiang Mai. The project was initiated in 2014 in collaboration with Mejo University, a local elementary school and The United Methodist Church.
The university’s agricultural department sent students to work with the elementary school children to set up a fish farm, a mushroom farm and a chicken farm. In addition, 600 coffee trees were planted on the elementary school’s property to provide additional educational opportunities for the students and resources for the school. The children are assigned a certain number of trees to tend during the school year while learning farming practices and personal responsibility. Many students may not continue to junior or senior year because they will have to start working to support their family’s income. Through farming education, these children are taught the skills they’ll need to help their families while also allowing them to stay in school.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fat Sunday Dessert Auction - 2



Thanks to all who made desserts and soups. It was a fabulous time together!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Worship at Wesley Village



On 15 March, our Confirmation Class led the worship service at Wesley Village. Thanks to Tim and Kim for leading this class each year, and thanks to the mentors, parents, and marvelous young people!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Empty! Children at the Altar, Easter 2015

United Methodist Women in Ivory Coast

Eugenie Sowan Erse N’Ghessan sews clothes to earning a living for herself and her seven children in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
By Kathy L. Gilbert
March 27, 2015| ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS)

Eugenie Sowan Erse N’Ghessan is bent over her loud, blue, industrial sewing machine in the back corner of a small room she shares with three other tailors.
She works from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and she is happy and feels blessed because she is earning a living for herself and her seven children.
Surrounded by multicolored fabric and thread, N’Ghessan also keeps a folder nearby. Inside is the paperwork that shows she completed training and owns the machine she is using. She is one of 48 women who received a micro-loan from the United Methodist Women in the Côte d’Ivoire Conference. That loan started her business.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Blue and Gold




We are proud to charter Pack 106 and Troop 106 here in Mountain Top. The annual recognition and celebration banquet was a huge success, with Bob (as always) adding his humor and a volcano that ran on Oreos and milk!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Shocked and Silent - Easter Message 2015


2015/04/05 Christ Church, Mountain Top – EASTER!
Call to Worship, Psalm 118, excerpts
Children, empty box
Message, Mark 16.1-8
  
My embarrassing moment – shocked and silent
  
For those of us who come to church regularly and proclaim “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again,” the Easter story can get a little stale. We know how it ends, we are familiar with the foregone conclusion, even more certain than an undefeated Kentucky team finishing the season at the top of NCAA men’s basketball. In fact, if you like upsets, you might even start rooting for the story to end with Jesus dead: When the women got to the tomb, they found the stone sealed shut, the soldiers refusing entrance, but after a little bargaining, they were allowed in to anoint Jesus’ dead body with myrrh, an ancient embalming perfume. Then, they left to prepare macaroni salad and turkey sandwiches for the funeral dinner. Because it’s OVER.
      As Ben Franklin said, “Nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes” (BrainyQuote.com).

Easter Egg Hunt - 2





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Anthem 2015

Legacy of Leadership

On Sunday 15 March, we recognized folks who had served in leadership in the governance bodies of the church in prior years, including those pictured here at our 10:45 service. Thanks to all of you for your faithfulness, vision, and grace!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Passover

Maundy Thursday 2015/04/02 Mountain Top, at The Presbyterian Church
Message, Exodus 12.1-14

I chose this passage from the readings for the day for several reasons.
·         In worship at Christ Church, we’ve been examining the cycle of covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures, and this is a logical extension of that focus.
·         The historical context of the Passion of Jesus was Passover. Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover meal, 1500 years after Moses, on the night he was arrested.
·         The theological theme of Passover is taken up by the Hebrew prophets to refer to God’s “new thing” of deliverance from exile (Isaiah 43.19) and by the New Testament to refer to Christ as “our Passover”, the one whose blood saves us from the wrath of God. “Our Paschal Lamb, Christ has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5.7). “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1.29).

I love the detail of the passage. The directions for the meal itself tell you everything from how to cook the lamb to what to wear at the meal. I love that we are told to “eat it hurriedly” (Exodus 12.11). My mother, a modern day “Miss Manners”, would be repulsed! And, the trouble-maker in me wonders what it would look like if, rather than the stately process most churches have evolved to serve communion, everyone rushed through it. I love that we are told to eat with our staff in our hand. What is the modern equivalent? Our car keys? Our cell phones? Our purses? (I told you I have a trouble-maker in me. But, please, don’t take a selfie while receiving the Eucharist.)

Palms to Crosses: Children at the Altar (2015-0329)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Covenants God Keeps (6): Servant


2015/03/29 Christ Church, Mountain Top, Palm Sunday
Call to Worship, Psalm 118.1-2, 19-29
Children, Mark 11.1-11
Message, Isaiah 50.4-11

The exile experience (the historical context of the original audience)
“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11.3

The human experience
      Going from a bright future to an uncertain one, out of my own control
      Being totally in the dark in a season of pain (eye infection – getting to the shower in the morning)
      Judged, because bad things keep happening, and without an advocate
      Powerless to change the situation, just worn out
            Hosanna! Lord, Save!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday - The Response of Compromise

2015/04/03 Good Friday, Mountain Top Community @ St Paul Lutheran
Matthew 27.11-26
  
Poor Pilate. He doesn’t ever seem to have learned that there are more than two ways to address conflict, more than two ways to be conflicted. In addressing external conflict, the two easiest ways to identify are confrontation or capitulation. Fight or give in.
      In terms of being conflicted, the easy resolution is to pick one aspect of ourselves or another and just go with it. Either-or. No possibility of internal dialogue, just decide by listening to the loudest internal voice, the greatest threat.
      We don’t know much about Pilate’s personal life. He served as procurator of Palestine for ten years, though there were numerous complaints against him by those whom he governed. He seems to have satisfied his superiors for a while, but it finally caught up to him and he was deposed by his boss and sent to answer for his conduct before the emperor. According to one historian, he was sentenced to exile and eventually committed suicide (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 842).
      As to his family life, all we know is that he was married and that he brought his wife with him to Palestine. If he was ever a father, I imagine that he might have learned to handle conflict a bit more productively. I remember how easy it was as a father to draw a hard line with my boys only to fold under the pressure of a three-year old’s persuasive power.
      The title of this response is “compromise”. Compromise can be a good thing, and it would be nice (in my opinion) to see a little more of it among our political leaders. But, for Pilate, compromise was more like total capitulation. Whatever happened to my sense of principle? Whatever happened to my wife’s good advice? Whatever happened to my discernment of the jealous motives of the people around me? When we totally fold under pressure we give away a piece of ourselves. We think we are saving ourselves by caving to the pressure, but we actually lose our Selves. It is suicide by stages.

Palm Sunday Bells

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fat Sunday Dessert Auction - 1



 Lost track of these pics from our Feb 15 Fat Sunday Dessert Auction. Despite the snow, we had a delightful time. Thanks to Gerri and her team!