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The Bridge

IN THIS ISSUE: Stories from Summer Youth Mission Trips PAGE 3

Small Groups: Total Fitness 2017 PAGE 8

Upcoming Events PAGE 10

A bimonthly publication of Bridgewater United Methodist Church JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2017 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 5


Letter from the Pastor Dear Church, In a spirit of total honesty, I am setting certain facts into print that they may survive in the historical record long after we are all gone. Consider this my confession: First, some of you snore (and not just a little bit).

Second, many of you have work boots you’ve worn for years - you didn’t have to tell me this as my nose figured it out. Third, there are many among you who do not understand that conversation is to begin only (and I mean only) after the second cup of coffee is poured in the AM. Fourth (and connected to the last point) some of you do not yet understand that, in the words of my grandmother, “nothing makes sense after midnight.” Go to sleep with the sun. Fifth, most of you lack all modesty in your consumption of snacks after a day at a work site. Sixth, I wouldn’t change any of the above as it’s all part of the fun of being in mission with BUMC. I have learned that Bridgewater UMC is a church where youth and adults are willing to pack a bag to go help out. This tradition continues this Spring and Summer with opportunities for high school students and adults to serve with CUMAC in fighting malnutrition in New Jersey, in ministries of education, compassion, and home repair with the Philadelphia Project in April and June, and many, many more. If you have ever wanted to join one of these trips or get involved in youth ministry at Bridgewater UMC, consider this your invitation. Also - you’ve been warned. Grace and Peace,

Pastor Ben Lee Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation 1 | | January/February


Pastoral & Church Staff Rev. Dr. Vicki M. Brendler, Senior Pastor Rev. Ben Lee, Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation Rev. June Tamburro, Associate Pastor of Discipleship Cathi Reckenbeil, Director of Ministries with Children, Younger Youth & Their

651 Country Club Road Bridgewater, NJ 08807 908-526-1414

Families

bridgewaterumc.org office@bridgewaterumc.org Vision Statement: We invite all people into an accepting and loving community of peace and refuge that makes disciples of Jesus Christ to impact lives through mission and service.

Mary Beth Gruber, Finance Manager/Treasurer Nick Jankucic, Property Manager Jannet Poole, Administrative Secretary Janet Ledbetter, Administrative Assistant Diana T. Berenter, Childcare Coordinator Jeanne Alusik, Director of Children’s Corner For questions or comments about this publication, please contact: veronica.sydlowski@gmail.com

Social Media Posts ofCORNER the Summer CHILDREN’S AT BUMC

Like and follow us on Facebook651 to view pictures/videos find out what’s on at church Country Club Road,and Bridgewater, NJ going 08807

908-526-9596 • www.theccorner.org childbumc@gmail.com Ages 2-6 • Full and Half Day Programs Are you following us on Facebook? Have you liked our page yet? Our Facebook page regularly posts pictures and videos, links to the pastoral email and The Bridge, as well as information about upcoming events. If you have liked the page, but aren’t seeing anything on your news feed, be sure to like or share posts so that you see future posts. Find us at facebook.com/bridgewaterumcnj

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For several decades, the middle school and high school aged youth of Bridgewater United Methodist Church (BUMC) have been going on weeklong summer mission trips. They have the opportunity to serve others, learn about different cultures, and reinvigorate/discover their passion to do God’s work. Past trips have included construction, serving in food kitchens and homeless shelters, and teaching Vacation Bible School in places that range from South Dakota to Baltimore. This past summer’s trips were to West Virginia to do home repair work and the Heifer Farm in Massachusetts. Part of the money pledged and received every year from the congregation goes towards the mission trips. On the next several pages are statements from middle school and high school youth who describe their experiences and what an impact these trips have made on them. Courtney McManus, 11th grader Being a part of the BUMC youth group has changed my ways of thinking and doing. Beginning with my first mission trip, I was exposed to things that most people don’t have a firsthand account of, hunger, poverty, but most of all, hope. I saw the trust people had in the Lord that He has a plan and everything was going to work out. On our 3 | | January/February

trips, we heard from people who were struggling financially, mentally, or physically. However, they all had a common mentality of; God is with me, and so things will get better. By hearing stories from people that we met, I too developed that way of thinking, and found comfort in the bible verse, Psalm 46:5, “God is within her, she will not fail.” As of now, I have been on 7 mission trips with BUMC. Our mission trip this year was to help families in West Virginia make their houses warmer, safer, and drier, with the help of ASP, Appalachian Service Project. I was skeptical of this mission trip at first, confused as to why I should go on this trip. I had absolutely no building skills nor could I be a good assistant considering I didn’t even know the names of tools. Nevertheless, I knew it was God’s


plan so I followed His calling down South. I was put in a group that was in the same boat as me, “heart at a 10, skills at a 1.” Throughout our many mishaps throughout the week, we were able to completely re-do a kitchen floor for a wonderful lady, Ms. Sharron. During the week we were at her house, she mostly stayed in her swivel chair because she had a very hard time walking. Though, on the last day, when we had placed the last tile on her kitchen floor, she was anxious to walk all over it. We helped her to get out of her chair and go to all corners of the kitchen so she could see a floor, something she had not had in a very long time. It was at that time that I realized God’s calling should always be answered. He is with you, along with all the others that He has put in your life to help you. So go out of your comfort zone! Go on a mission trip and try something you have never done before. Maggie Buckridge, 10th grader This past summer we repaired homes in an area facing extreme poverty. Two greatgrandchildren of the homeowner spent time with us. We built a porch, and dug trenches for drainage. We always

offered food to them; one day we gave them cold water. Their faces lit up with joy as they drank. We worked in a county where 40% of people cannot access clean water. The last time I saw her, the little girl told me that she was going to pray for me. In shock at her maturity and faith, I agreed that we would pray for each other. In the end, the porch and relationships were built. Mission trips have the power to change a person’s life in a week. In our area, it is not common to see people living in trailers without clean water. We hear about poverty on other continents, but can easily ignore the needs of our neighbors, here in the United States. We were able to improve the lives of others, while serving the Lord. Continues on page 5 January/February | | 4


Bri Edris, 9th grader Mission trips are things I look forward every year. I was especially excited for the mission trip to Heifer Farm, and boy was I right to be. Filled with a plethora of different smells, good and bad, Heifer Farm was one of the best experiences I’ve had with BUMC. It gave me a chance to discover talents I never knew I had, like milking a goat and digging holes for fences. It also allowed me to execute the skills I came equipped with. I was able to conjure up relationships with the animals and the staff at the farm, and even build on relationships with members of the youth group.

Most importantly, I was able to put myself in the shoes of people who are not as fortunate as me. This gave me the ability to appreciate the life I have, and I could not be more grateful for this experience. Rishona Kumar, 12th grader A couple summers ago, I attended the Baltimore mission trip, only this time as a Junior Youth Advisor. I was anxious with the thought of being left out, given that my close friends were not going. The skepticism of having fun as I did three years ago overwhelmed me. I prayed to God several times to give me the encouragement and strength to enjoy this trip with the other youth. He did answer my prayers, because by the first night all the junior advisor girls were sitting in a circle at midnight sharing secrets. In the many years I have known these girls, that was the first night I felt exceptionally close with them. And as the week progressed not only did the junior advisors become close but so did the youth group as a whole. Even after being confirmed, God still keeps our youth group united.

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Katie Parsons, 8th grader Thirty-five people went on our summer mission trip to the Heifer Farm in Massachusetts and we spent 5 days working and learning about hunger needs and social justice issues.

I want to be God’s hands AND feet, helping to feed the hungry and stop poverty. By serving others, I will be following God’s wish to make this world a better place.

We were in three smaller groups for class times. We named our group “Hannah’s Bananas.” Near the end of our 5 days, Hannah asked each of us to draw a stick figure, and write what we learned in our head, our hands, our heart and our feet. I want to share with you what I wrote: In my HEAD, I learned: to appreciate what I have been given in my life.

With my HANDS, I will work to pass on how much heifer does for those throughout the world. In my HEART, I felt guilt over how much I have complained about a lack of material objects, when someone else would be thankful for what they already had. With my FEET, I will take with me the knowledge how some people struggle just to put food on the table.

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Samantha Bryan, 6th grader I am a part of the junior youth fellowship (JYF) group and we went to Heifer International Farm. At devotions we were told to write or list times when we saw good in someone and when they were doing good when they didn't have to, because they wanted to follow God's plan. I will explain my favorite moment when I saw God in action. When we were at Heifer Farm, we were put into groups and placed into houses in the global village. The global village is one big area of the farm where there are eight different 3rd world countries; Peru, Tibet, Kenya, Ghana, Appalachia, Poland, Guatemala, and The Colonies. In the global village different sleeping arrangements were experienced. Each group or "family" were to sleep on hardwood floors, carpeting, hammocks, gravel or bunk beds; it all depended on the different houses. In each house and country there were four jobs. The first job was taking care of a water balloon, which was considered our baby, and the baby always had to be in physical contact with a person. The second job was being the head of household; this was the only person who could read, write, tell time, and handle money. Having an injury was considered to be the third job. This meant for the time you were part of that country you had to wear a sling or a knee brace, which made it challenging to 7 | | January/February

contribute to the work as much as you might like. The last job was for the adults. They were able to choose to be an elder that could only answer questions with yes or no, or to be a toddler who could act in any way that they wanted. Some adults had a lot of fun being toddlers. :-) I was put in Peru and my job was to have an injury (an arm sling). During my stay in Peru, I had to work with others who were considered to be part of my family. We had difficulty starting a fire, but another member of another country helped us. The sleeping arrangements in Peru, was something I was not used to. We all had to sleep in a tiny room together that had a gravel floor. Overall, everyone worked together and helped all the villages succeed. God teaches us that we all succeed by selflessly helping others. Then we rise up all together, as one big community.


Small Groups: Total Fitness 2017 The New Year brings new opportunities to connect with a small group. Many New Year resolutions focus on renewed health and wellness. In that vein, we bring you opportunities to restore mind, body, spirit and finances with our themed selection of small groups called Total Fitness 2017. You may sign up on the bulletin board outside of the church office or by contacting Rev. June at june.tamburro@gmail.com.

The Total Money Makeover

The Daniel Plan (mind/body/spirit)

(mind/finances) Over 4 weeks we will take a private look at our individual finances and design a plan for financial fitness. Starting with a series of “baby steps” we will walk together on a journey to a strong financial plan for paying off all debt, including cars, student loans and houses. We will discuss the 10 most dangerous money myths and learn how to secure a nest egg for emergencies and retirement.

Developed by best-selling author and pastor, Rick Warren, The Daniel Plan is framed around The Essentials: Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends – life areas that all work together to restore and sustain your long-term whole health. Faith is the foundation with God as the source of the power and the energy behind all transformational change. As you follow The Daniel Plan, you will discover that you have a part to play in getting healthier, but God will energize your efforts. We have learned that doing The Daniel Plan in community, with a group of friends is the “secret sauce” to successful change. People who do the program together lose 50% more weight!

The plan will be based on a book called, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. Dave has developed a plan that works and is scripturally based. Reading Dave’s book is recommended but not required to be part of the class. Bring a brown bag dinner (or order pizza) and join us Tuesdays, January 24February 14 from 6:30-8pm in room 25. Childcare available upon request. **registration closes January 17** Leader is Gerry Tamburro

The Daniel Plan small group study is a 6-week curriculum that teaches you how to incorporate sustainable healthy choices into your daily lifestyle. Join us Wednesdays, January 18-February 22 from 7:30-9pm in the youth lounge. Leaders are Mary Hogarth, Linda Janci & Lynn Kheshgi.

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Small Groups: Total Fitness 2017 Psalms (mind/spirit)

The Call (mind/spirit)

The Bible contains 150 Psalms, which are a collection of poetic prayers that give voice to the full spectrum of human emotion: joy, sorrow, anger and fear. As you read and study the Psalms, you will likely discover your own voice embedded in the words of the ancient writers.

Author and Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton follows the journeys of the apostle Paul, beginning with his dramatic conversion, as he spread the Gospel through modern-day Greece and Turkey. Travel to the early church sites and explore Paul’s conversations with the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. In this 5-week study, you are invited to experience faith through Christ’s greatest teacher and missionary. Join us on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9pm, January 25-February 22 in room 25. Then…

During this 6 week study you will hear insights into specific Psalms presented by one of two biblical scholars through an informal, roundtable conversation format (DVD based). Class discussions will also explore how the Psalms bring meaning and direction to our own journey of faith. This study is accessible for adults with little prior Bible experience. Join us Thursday evenings from 7:30-9pm, January 19-February 23 in room 25. Leader is Rev. June Tamburro.

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If you’d like to follow Paul’s journey yourself, join Rev. Vicki on a Mediterranean tour this October 6-17 where Adam Hamilton will be a guest speaker. Pick up a brochure in the narthex today.


January & February Events To see more events and details, please visit our online calendar at bridgewaterumc.org. All events take place at church unless otherwise noted. JANUARY 2017 Su

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JYF (Middle School) & MYF (High School) Keswick Retreat Whiting, NJ

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Souper Bowl of Caring Canned goods will be collected in the sanctuary and donated to local food pantries

Valentine Card Decorating & Delivery Elementary Youth Fellowship (1st-4th grade)

10pm-2pm

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Potluck & Kids MusicRound/ Games Children & Family Ministries (infant-4th grade)

4pm-6pm

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Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper 5pm-7pm

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Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Tuesday, February 28 • 5-7pm Seniors (60+): $7

Children (3-9): $5

Adults: $9

Children under 3: Free

Buy early and save $2 per ticket—tickets will be sold at the door

Pancakes Crepes Sausage Fruit Beverages

Live Dixie Music Crafts & Raffles for Kids

All proceeds benefit the music ministries of Bridgewater United Methodist Church

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The Bridge - January & February 2017