Spring 2021 Newsletter
The Bell Tower
I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think we are starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of this very dark tunnel. The COVID numbers are going down, and some of you have received at least your first vaccine. We began this journey during Lent last year, and here we are a whole year later about to begin another Lenten journey and still dealing with the consequences of this pandemic. In last Sunday’s message some of you heard me talk about 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 where Paul talks about what it means to be the Body of Christ, which is the church. In verses 25-27 Paul says, “…there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
It has been our responsibility as a church to take care of our more vulnerable parts. That is why we stopped worshiping in person; to keep our whole body safe. We did not stop being the church, as we continued to offer worship and mission opportunities. Since the numbers have been dropping, we are going to resume in- person worship on Sunday, March 7th at 8:45 (Contemporary Worship) and 11:00 (Traditional Worship). You do not have to make reservations, but we still have to limit seating to 30 people, so we will have the Gathering Place and Upper Room available for overflow, and the service will be viewed live. You will be required to wear a mask the whole time you are in the building, and we will still have to social distance, but we will not require temperatures upon entry to the building. We trust that you will stay home if you aren’t feeling well. PLEASE do not stay home and think, “I’ll leave room for someone else.” That’s what happened last time and we ended up with 8 people in worship.
I am also excited to offer a new opportunity beginning that Sunday. Since many of you are missing the opportunity to meet with your fellow believers, we are going to be offering a time to gather with your sisters and brothers in faith to have a deeper discussion about matters of faith and life. This will happen on Sunday mornings at 9:30 in the Fellowship Hall, where we can have a cup of coffee or tea and social distance, while digging a little deeper in to the Word and ourselves. We are calling this Deeper Down as we work toward ful- filling the second part of our mission statement: Grow in Faith. Everyone is welcome to join us for a time of fellowship, prayer and sharing.
As we begin the process of discovering what our new normal will look like and figuring out how we can effectively be the Body of Christ as we move into the future, may we do so remembering the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” Paul goes on to re- mind us that we are the Body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it. It is going to take eve- ry one of us to discover and use our God-given talents and abilities for this church to be all that God intends it to be. Please consider how you can give of your time and talents, as well as your tithes and offerings.
When we aren’t worshiping in person, it’s easy to forget about offerings, but your tithes and offerings are what keeps the business of the church running. In my 17 years here, we have never done a stewardship campaign. That’s amazing! We haven’t had to do that because I’ve taught you what the Bible says about your finances. Your money is not yours; it is God’s mon- ey, and He has given it to you as a gift. He only requires 10% in return – the rest is yours. On- ly 10%. When we give our 10% tithe to the church, God promises to bless us for our faithful- ness. In Malachi God tells the people that they are robbing Him. He says:
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
The people were robbing God because they weren’t giving Him their tithe. God prom- ised the people that if they repented, turned to Him and gave their tithe, He would give them so many blessings that they wouldn’t have room enough for it. Friends, God has blessed us be- cause of our faithfulness. Let’s not let Him down now. Your tithes and offerings keep the church running. Because our giving was significantly lower last year, we have had to make some pretty significant cuts in the budget. The Budget Committee cut the Music Director sala- ry in half, so we are having a hard time hiring someone to fill that position. If the giving con- tinues on that downward path, we are not going to be able to continue doing the ministry we’ve done in our community. It is going to take all of us to step up and do our part to make this Body of Christ function properly. This Body needs YOU. Are you giving your time? Your talent? Your tithe?
As that light at the end of the tunnel slowly gets brighter, I challenge you to think about what you want the church to look like on the other side. What is your vision for the future church? If you want the church to be here, you are going to have to help make that happen. If you want this church to have a staff to lead you in to the future, you are going to have to help make that happen. If you want PPC to continue sharing and being the gospel in this communi- ty, you are going to have to help make that happen. If you want to fulfill our mission to Go in Service and Grow in Faith, you are going to have to help make that happen. Friends, let’s make all those things happen….together!
Blessings, Rev. Tina