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CHRIST COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP A Magazine of Christ Community United Methodist Church Volume 7, Issue 6

Christ Community United Methodist Church 3474 Stiles Road Syracuse, NY 13209 (315) 457-9382 ChristCommunityUMC.com Sunday Worship 9:00 &10:45 am, 7:00 pm Sunday School 9:00 & 10:45 am Christ Community Staff Pastor: Rev. Dr. B.J. Norrix 457-9382 (church) 345-5604 (cell) BJNorrix@CCUMC.com* Church Secretary: Dona Dalton 457-9382 (church) Director of Christian Education : Julie Valeski 457-9382 (church) Julie@CCUMC.com* Pastoral Care: Pastor Linda Prell 457-9382 Linda@CCUMC.com Music Director: Phill Sterling 638-4956 (home) Choir@CCUMC.com* Associate Music Director: Denise Weeks-Bush 635-7175 (home) GraceAlone@CCUMC.com* Director of Communications: Heather Claver 468-6811 (home) Heather@CCUMC.com* * All email addresses are @ChristCommunityUMC.com

On the web at: ChristCommunityUMC.com

October 2009

Nexus Seminary Uganda A message from Rev. Dr. B. J. Norrix, Senior Pastor Research tells us that the fastest way out of poverty is education. Education, learning, exposure to new ideas and skill sets are all the in the forefront of what it takes to break the grinding cycle of poverty. When an individual or a group of individuals is able to learn and grow and develop new skills and aptitudes, their economic future changes. Research also tells us that as leaders grow, their organization (communities, churches, businesses, etc.) also grow. The key to changing, growing and raising the abilities of any organization is to work with the leaders and help them learn new skill sets, understandings and information. The speed of the leader determines the speed of the organization. When the leader is changed by personal growth his/her organization also sees change and growth. This brings me back to our relationship with Nexus Seminary, Uganda. Nexus is designed to work with Church leaders in hard-to-reach places. We believe that through

training and learning life learning and growing (education) and through and passing that trainincreasing the leadership ing on to others. I do it at capability of the pastoral Christ Community, I do leaders in these commu- it on our District, I do it nities we are effecting across the annual Conchange in the entire com- ference, I do it (recently) munities. We have seen in Nashville and I am that this training and continuing to do this in education and leadership Uganda, East Africa. development transforms Some of you may have entire villages and areas. wondered why I take the The Nexus training risk of going and why I encourages leaders to am so passionate about look around and ask what Nexus is about— “why not?” Out of this hopefully you can see questioning have come now. new schools, clinics, and I am excited to be gobetter leadership train- ing. I look forward to ing for everyone involved. coming home. I am beI am convinced that al- yond excitement knowthough the long range ing that a great man of impact of the work we God, Rev. Davis Matovu, are doing may be difficult is coming back with me. to calculate, that impact Please keep me in has already been, and your prayers. certainly will continue to be significant. As you know, my personal mission statement is “I want to build a great church for God.” I am not shy in saying that I will work with anyone, anywhere and at anytime to bring this about. I invest much of my Davis Matovu & Pastor BJ


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Mission Team News Cathy Cronk

Isn’t it awesome to see and experience the great mission work being done here at Christ Community United Methodist Church? How wonderful to be a part of God’s Great Commission, to seek the least, the lost and the lonely. Just to highlight some of our missions; we were blessed to commission Pastor BJ & Rick Woodside to Ugandan mission field, we are preparing for the CROP Walk, and we are gathering winter clothes and blankets to give to our refugees. When I think of all that is going on, not only with our mission work, but all our ministries, I am reminded of one of BJ’s recent sermons, when he said our job is not to chase the darkness away but to be a light in the darkness, we are not to go out and tell the world how bad it is, our job is to live the light! I am so thankful to be a part of this church family who truly live the light! If you are looking for a way to live your light, come and join our mission team. We gather the third Wednesday of every month to meet and then pray together. There were nine of us who gathered last month for prayer and what an amazing time we had! I hope we make it to ten this month. Please remember to keep Pastor BJ, Rick, Wayne and the entire Nexus Seminar in your daily prayers. Upcoming Missions:

• Crop Walk: Sunday, Oct. 18

at 1:30 pm at the Salt Museum in Onondaga Lake Park. Our goal is to have 25 walkers participate and to raise $2500! What is a CROP Hunger Walk? Neighbors walking together to take a stand against hunger in our world. To join the CCUMC team or to sponsor a walker, see Patti Marvin or go to the Mission page on our website:

ChristCommunityUMC.com

• The CCUMC Mission Team is once again collecting GENTLY USED, CLEAN clothing for the Fall Clothing GiveAway. The event will be on Saturday October 31 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Father’s Heart Ministries at 909 Butternut Street in Syracuse. They desperately need winter clothing, including outer wear and boots, as well as blankets. You can bring them to church and leave them on the Mission Table outside B.J.’s office. It would be really helpful (but not necessary) if you presorted the items in separate bags (men, women, boys, girls). There’s a sign-up sheet on the Mission Table for volunteers to help sort, bag and transport clothing on Friday evening (Oct 30) and for helpers on the day of the event. • Hope for Africa Children’s Choir will be in our area from October 22-October 25th. This choir is from Kam-

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pala, Uganda Humble School (a United Methodist School). There are two ways for you to be involved: 1. Come hear them sing at Christ Community on Saturday evening, October 24 at 7:00pm. A love offering will be taken and African items will be sold. OR 2. Host 2-3 children and one of their chaperones. This entails providing beds for Thursday thru Saturday nights and breakfast each morning; then transporting them to the church where they will be performing that day between 9:00 & 10:00am. They will need to be picked up Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings around 9:00pm. If you can help, please contact Joyce Trinkley-Wolfson a t 6 3 5 - 6 6 8 0 o r jtw@twcny.rr.com • Davis Matovu from Nexus Seminary Uganda will be here November 1-8. Watch for more information. • Our next Mission Meeting is October 21st at 6:00 and prayer at 7:00 — come find out how you can shine the light of Christ!


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Men’s Ministry Update Joe Frega

Our next Men’s Ministry meeting will be held between Sunday Services on October 25 in the Junior High classroom. Please take a few minutes and stop in. We will be setting up a new date for the Habitat for Humanity dinner and discussing the formation of The Men’s Maintenance Ministry. At our meeting in August we elected Rick Major as our treasurer and we look forward to working together as a team in service to the Lord. The October Chicken Bar-B-Que was a great success. I personally think that Bill and Bruce (and others) outdid themselves, the chicken was just awesome. The volunteers all seemed to have a good time as well. It was great to have so many of you participate and help out. Thank you all. The fellowship of

service and the good food make it a pleasure for all of us. The new location for the pit worked out very well, and Bill is looking forward to putting a sturdier brick pit in place to allow us to cook more chickens at a time. Additional grates will bring us to the ability to cook 300 halves of chicken at a time (up from 240). Wow! Our next goal is to add a large tent style pavilion to the yard Family Night at the Ball Park Pre-game Dinner between the church and the parsonage to allow all church func- takes very little time but makes tions an option of “the great out- such a big difference in people’s doors”. We hope to be able to ac- lives during a very stressful time. If quire this over the winter to have it you can help, contact Gary Glenn or ready for the May Bar-B-Que. Joe Frega. The moving ministry has also Stop by our next meeting, October been busy and have helped more 25th between services in the Junior than a few of our members over the High Room and be involved! past few months. This ministry

Food Pantry Crumbs Karen and Laurel Frega It’s been a great month for the Food Pantry. Your support and donations have helped so many in this time of economic uncertainty. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget what it is like when the cupboard is bare. Laurel and I have been blessed by the fabulous support all of you show us regularly and those who use the pantry have been blessed as well. As the pantry’s use has increased and more people come to us looking for help and food, we began to talk to other pantries to find out how they dealt with increased volume. As a result of those conversations, we have decided to change the hours of operation to times when assistance can be provided without disturbing the church staff each time someone comes. This also will help us to

maintain the privacy that can be so important. Our new hours, which are posted on the door, will be: Sunday 9:00 to 1:00. This is primarily for our church family, during this time there will be no food pantry staff. but our assistance will be available if needed. Each Monday the pantry will be open to the public 2:00 – 5:00 pm with a food pantry volunteer on site. Of course the various ministries of the church have complete access at all times so that emergency needs can be addressed. Thanks again for all the blessings you share with the pantry! If you would like to receive weekly food pantry need by e-mail, please c o n t a c t K a r e n a t kmfrega@twcny.rr.com. The email goes out Thursdays.

Betty and Rob Kline would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the amazing Men’s Moving Mission, our awesome refugee friends and the wonderful women that helped us move. My church family never ceases to show their compassion and love for each other. Thank you all and God bless you all.


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Children & Youth Ministries Julie Valeski, Director of Christian Education This Fall our Sunday School participated in an exciting 28day program: Fill the Ark Giving Calendar. Each child received a calendar and a bank. The calendar is divided into four weeks, one week on each page. Each day has a different emphasis and lesson and presented an opportunity to add different amounts of money to their bank. Each week in Sunday School class we reviewed the week’s lessons and did some fun crafts and activities based on what they learned! As kids filled their ark-shaped bank with coins, they met the animals in Heifer’s Ark: alpaca, bee, camel, chicken, cow, donkey, duck, fish, goose, guinea pig, horse, llama, pig, rabbit, sheep, water buffalo and the wonderful yak. Our kids learned how these animals help families through wool, honey and milk and in dozens of other ways. Plus they learned more about the environmental benefits of using animals wisely on a small farm.

As they filled the ark bank with money, they learned how their gifts can share God’s love and end human suffering around the world. And they had some fun, too! We heard from a number of families that the kids really enjoyed this project. For instance, one day we were supposed to add coins for every jar of honey we had in the cupboard. Well we didn’t have any actual jars of honey—but that didn’t stop the kids! They went through the cupboard and found honey-mustard and honey graham crackers and counted those instead!

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Banks should be returned to church on October 18. On that day Sunday School classes will be utilizing Heifer International’s Read To Feed and Get It! curriculums. Read to Feed® is a reading incentive, global education and servicelearning program. Students obtain sponsorships from parents, friends and relatives, based on the number of books they read. At the end of the program, the classes will pool their funds and donate them to our Sunday School’s Fill the Ark Ministry. The Read to Feed program encourages reading skills, while teaching students how they can empower families around the world with the gift of livestock, heightening awareness that their actions are making a difference in the lives of others. GET IT! Our flexible curriculum for middle school includes a standardsbased academic unit that can be integrated into lesson plans. Choose to teach one lesson, a three-unit course or a four-lesson unit. The units all feature flowers, coffee and bananas, common products that people in the U.S. buy from Latin America. Teach students about their roles as consumers and the effects their choices have in the global marketplace, while emphasizing reading comprehension, audience-based writing, high-level thinking and research strategies. Students are challenged to apply fundamental skills in geography, economics, history, science and language arts.


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2009-2010 Children’s Ministries Activities Fall Dine & Slime CM Birthday Party

Oct.17 5-8 pm. October 18

Church Rock & Bowl Bring Your Parent to SS SS Mission Sunday Advent Craft Day SS PJ’s & Movie Sunday

November 13 November 15 November 22 November 28 1-4 pm. November 29

Sunday School “Christmas Play” Children’s Christmas Eve Service NO SUNDAY SCHOOL NO SUNDAY SCHOOL

December 13 7pm. December 24 5pm. DECEMBER 20 DECEMBER 27

Human Bean Festival/ Game & Movie Night Church Luau Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

January 16 5-8pm. February 27 5-8pm. March 27 9-Noon

Easter Egg Hunt NO SUNDAY SCHOOL: EASTER SS PJ’s & Movie Sunday SS Teacher & Worker Brunch

April 3 11am. April 4 April 18 April 25

Family Bowling May 15 2-4 pm. Congregation Appreciation Sunday May 16 NO SUNDAY SCHOOL May 30 Confirmation Sunday Education Celebration

June 6 9am. June 13

Vacation Bible School “EGYPT”

August 15-19 6-8:30pm

Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children around the world. This program provides and opportunity for our Sunday School kids and congregation to be involved in a simple, hands-on mission project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. Our Sunday School classes will be assembling boxes in November. You can help by bringing in small gifts for the shoeboxes. There’s a box on the far wall in Fellowship Hall for your donations. All items should be new. Here are a few suggestions, but you are not limited to the items on this list. Toys: Stuffed animals, tennis ball, finger puppet, small puzzles, yo-yo, blocks, small musical instruments.. For boys trucks and cars, for girls dolls, clip on earrings, jewelry, etc. Educational supplies: Markers, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, coloring book, notepad, picture or puzzle book, chalk, pencil case, stickers etc. Hygiene items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, hair clips, bar of soap, small wash cloth, etc. Other items: Hard candies (sell by date to be at least March of the following year), gloves, scarf, sunglasses, cap, hat, bangles, necklaces etc. We also need $7 per box to cover shipping and handling if you don’t have time To shop for items for the boxes. (mark “Shoebox” on your check).

Children’s Ministry Team ♥ Julie Valeski: 635-9516, Julie@ChristCommunityUMC.com ♥ Susan Rayo: 635-8937, SLRayo@twcny.rr.com ♥ Karen Woodside: 695-4514, RicknRed@aol.com ♥ Marsha Dillon: 487-0923, MJTDillon@verizon.net ♥ Laurel Frega: 218-7128, LFrega@twcny.rr.com ♥ Amy Tyler: 708-4669


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Christian Education Julie Valeski, Director of Christian Education • Confronting the Controversies

• There's a War Going On And

Do you have an opinion on the death penalty? Do you feel strongly one way or another about abortion or homosexuality? What are your views on the separation of church and state? Creation and evolution in the public schools? Euthanasia? Chances are you have strong feelings about some of these subjects. In this thought- provoking study, Adam Hamilton explores some of the most controversial and divisive issues of our time by showing you how to look at them from a biblical perspective, in order to arrive at a faithful Christian response. By offering clear, concise information on what is at stake in these issues, and by seeking to understand the positions different sides hold and to present them in a fair way, he also provides you with a model for how to dialogue about moral issues while maintaining respect for persons on both sides of the debate.

Your Mind Is The Battlefield...The good news is God is fighting on your side! God desires the best for your life, and Satan knows it. Satan wants to defeat God's people with a deliberate and cleverly devised plan of deceit and lies. His attack of doubting thoughts, fear and paranoia can erode your resistance, because he is willing to invest any amount of time it takes to defeat us.

Confronting the Controversies is a 7-session group study of “tough issues” based on Adam Hamilton’s sermons on these topics. The seven sessions are: 1. The Separation of Church and State 2. Creation and Evolution in the Public Schools 3. The Death Penalty 4. Euthanasia 5. Prayer in Public Schools 6. Abortion 7. Homosexuality Facilitated by Julie Valeski and Linda Prell. First Tuesday every month starting November 5th. 6:30-8:30pm. Childcare provided. See Julie or Linda to order a book.

But the book you now hold is a declaration of victory! God's people will win! They can use His Word to defeat the treachery and lies of Satan. In this book, author Joyce Meyer uncovers the tactics of the enemy and gives you a clear-cut plan to triumph in the fight for your mind. Joyce will teach you how to renew your mind through the Word and stand victoriously in the battlefield of the mind. Shelly Peters is leading this book study at 10:00 am at Carousel Mall. She will be meeting at the tables inside of the mall in front of H & M on the second floor. Please see Shelly for details.

• NOOMA Series with Rob Bell A different short film and discussion every Wednesday at 7:00 pm. Facilitated by Julie Valeski. Jesus lived with the awareness that God is doing something, right here, right now, and anybody can be a part of it. He encouraged his listeners to search, to question, to wrestle with the implications of what he was saying and doing. He inspired, challenged, provoked, comforted, and invited people to be

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open to God’s work in this world. Wherever he went, whatever he did, Jesus started discussions about what matters most, because for Jesus, God is always inviting us to open our eyes and join in. NOOMA is a series of short films that explore our world from a perspective of Jesus. NOOMA is an invitation to search, question, and join the discussion. On Weds, Oct. 14 we’ll watch FLAME. I love those shoes. Really? The same way I love my wife? What's up with the word "love"? It doesn't have much meaning when we use it so loosely. Maybe we don't really get it. Maybe we don't understand what real love is. What it involves to really love somebody. What it means to give yourself to someone else. We mistake things like friendship, commitment, or lust for love. But God wired us a certain way to experience all that love was really meant to be. Not to hold us back or to make us miss out on the best life has to offer. God created love, and wants us to feel it all in the way it's meant to be felt. On Weds., Oct. 21 we’ll watch Kickball. We always think we know what's missing from our lives in order to really make us happy, don't we? If only I had that car, or that job, or if only I could lose those 15 pounds, then I'd be happy. Really? How often do we want something only to find out that it wasn't that great after all? Sometimes we ask God for things and if he doesn't deliver right away, we start questioning whether God really understands or even cares. Do we really trust God? Do we trust that God is good and sees a bigger picture than we ever could? It's easy to want what's right in front of us, but maybe God knows what's better for us, and sometimes we just can't see it. Watch for each week’s discussion topic in your bulletin insert.


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Christ Community United Methodist Church (315) 457-9382 = www.ChristCommunityUMC.com Christ Community Staff Rev. Dr. B.J. Norrix, Senior Pastor BJNorrix@ChristCommunityUMC.com 457-9382 Dona Dalton, Church Secretary 457-9382

Pastor Linda Prell, Pastoral Care Linda@ChristCommunityUMC.com 487-0561 Heather Claver, Communications Director Close-Up Editor, Webmaster Heather@ChristCommunityUMC.com 468-6811

Julie Valeski, Director, Christian Education Julie@ChristCommunityUMC.com 635-9516

Amy Tyler, Nursery Coordinator 457-9382

Phill Sterling, Music Director Choir@ChristCommunityUMC.com 457-9382

Gail Thompson, Nethanim (custodian) 457-9382

Denise Weeks-Bush, Associate Music Director GraceAlone@ChristCommunityUMC.com 457-9382

Worship Teams News 9:00 AM Sonrise Choir Our choir rehearses from 7PM to 8:15PM in the sanctuary on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, with warm up rehearsal on Sundays at 8:35AM in the choir room. Choir is open without auditions. We also welcome anyone who would like to sing a solo or perform on a musical instrument. Contact Phill Sterling at 638-4956 or Choir@ChristCommunityUMC.com 10:45 AM Praise Choir Our praise choir rehearses the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm. Everyone is welcome! See Denise Weeks-Bush or email her at GraceAlone@ChristCommunityUMC.com for more details. Cloverleaf Children’s Choir Our Children’s Choir rehearses between services in the choir room and is open to all kids. We perform one Sunday a month and occasionally do special performances at area nursing homes. See Shelly and Chris Peters for more information. Inspired Expressions Dance Team Our Dance Team practices on Thursdays at 6:30 pm. New members of all ages welcome. See Chris Haskins or Lynnie Janson for more information. Drama Team DRAMA TEAM is open to anyone who likes to have fun and praise God through drama. We’re looking for actors, writers, and behind the scenes people. All ages welcome! See Betty Kline or Joe Frega for more information.


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Naomi’s Table: A Ministry for Widows

Call Nancy Karins at 488-1298 if you’d like more information about Naomi’s Table.

again. Let me share just one inci- to make a shawl, to please do so. Since last May when we met for dent where I know His hand was We would then have them on our our first Naomi’s Table gathering, there. This is what I told the ladies resource table, ready and waiting we have grown to twenty-two for our next member. When two at our June meeting: members. “God wanted you each to have a women were added to our list this In July, Gail Eggiman, the founprayer shawl. When I mailed out month, I started knitting faster der of Naomi’s Table came to meet the first letters in May there were and faster, knowing there was no us. She told us her story and the 16 on the list. I prayed for 10 la- way that I could get two shawls beginnings of Naomi’s Table. She dies to come, believing that eight done. Last Sunday morning, Teri told of her amazing relationship would, and mak- came to me before service and she with God and how “I find Naomi’s Table very ing eight prayer said, ‘I have two shawls made, do He has guided her was a you want them?” I told her she through her heal- comforting. Being with people shawls ing, her spiritual who know exactly what I am manageable goal. was an answer to prayer—in my When eight re- mind I said: “Boy do I!!!” God growth, and even going through is very imporhow He directed tant. It makes it easier know- sponded I gave wants you to have a prayer shawl, the beginning of ing that what I am experienc- thanks to God for can anything be clearer? God loves ing is completely normal. It answering my you, God knows your pain, God Naomi’s Table. reinforces that there is nothing prayer. When ten knows your fears and God knows In August wrong with me or how I am responded I gave the comfort of a shawl wrapped JoAnne Decker dealing with my grief.” CH thanks for the around your shoulders, one that from the Departabundance. When was prayed for while being knitment of Youth and sixteen responded, I allowed my- ted, each stitch is covered in Aging told us of the many areas of self a mini breakdown and then prayer. Even just holding your help that are available through asked for help. Prayer shawls were shawl gives you comfort. I know the county and state services. She made by friends in this church, because that is what I do with came bearing gifts and that is almine—just hold it and our friends ways nice! Benefits available are and feel the peace f r o m S t . everything from Call-A-Bus, to a “When I joined Naomi’s Tathat was prayed A u g u s t i n e ’ s ble. My husband had passed weatherization program that prointo it. And to Catholic Church vides help with faulty furnaces, away two months before. I Prayer Shawl thought I was strong, and then make one more and adding insulation and repairs thing perfectly Ministry gave us related to energy savings. She cerfelt guilty that I wasn’t. clear—it was never six, and we re- Naomi’s Table has given me tainly provided us with a lot of only MY hearts ceived shawls new friendships. They listen to information, but also the assurfrom Gulf Breeze me and do not judge me. They desire for you to ance that this Department is just UMC in Florida! do not tell me to be strong, but have the shawl. If waiting for our phone call so they God provided a that it is okay to feel sad, cry that were the case can be of help. shawl for every or any other emotions I might none of you would In October a speaker from Hope It is woman that came have. They help to pick me up. have one. for the Bereaved will help us preGod’s hearts desire to that first meet- I am blessed to be able to be a pare for the holidays. ing, and a shawl part of Naomi’s Table. I know for each of you to God’s covering on this ministry have a shawl. He for every woman now each day will get a little has been an overwhelming journey made it happen, who expressed for me. Beginning with the visit easier through the help of not me.” interest but is to the Gulf Breeze United MethodNaomi’s Table.” TM God has touched unable to attend ist Church in Florida where I first the hearts of our our meetings. discovered Naomi’s Table, God CCUMC friends to continue knitAt our first gathering, I told you never allowed me to let go of this ting and crocheting prayer shawls that it is my hearts desire for ministry. Every fear, every uncerfor Naomi’s Table. His blessings every woman who comes to tainty in my being was conquered. continue to cover Naomi’s Table, Naomi’s Table to receive a gift of a He has a heart for the widow and and my overwhelming journey also shawl, and asked those who either her challenges. His love for us has continues. knitted or crocheted and felt called been shown to me again and


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Carmel Apples Cider Corn Stalks Foliage Gather Grain Harvest Fun Hay Ride Hot Cocoa October Potatoes Preserve

Christ Community Cookbook Share your favorite recipes and the stories behind them if you want: where you got it, is it kid friendly, an old family favorite, good for potluck, etc. Email your recipe to: Heather@ChristCommunityUMC.com

or leave in the box on the Sunday School Table Cookbooks will be available in MidNovember and are $5.00. Proceeds go to “Fill the Ark�

Help the scarecrow find his friend.

Pumpkin September Squash Storage Thresh Tractor Wagon Warm Colors


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Who Is A Hero? Diane DeJohn

Editor’s note: A few years ago we ran a story writing contest and asked people to write about their hero. We got 4 very good entries and decided rather than just picking one story to print, we’d print all of them, in alphabetical order. This is the first installment. WHO IS A HERO By Diane DeJohn I've always thought of a hero as someone like Superman or Batman, a big brawny hulk of a man who fought against crime and injustice. The dictionary describes a hero as "someonewho fights for a cause", or a person who rules or inspires others." In Greek mythology, a hero was " a being of great strength an courage celebrated for bold exploits: often the offspring of a mortal and a god." My mind was changed however, not by a man of strength and brawn, but by a tiny girl I met in 1989. Her name was Tinikka and I was hired to be her one-on-one teaching assistant, as she had recently been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. Huntington's is a progressive neurological and muscular disease which also affects the brain. This is a genetic disease and her dad had passed it on to her. To look at her, you would never know there was anything wrong. She was lively and had a beautiful smile on her face when I first met her. She was still pretty much independent, but was having some difficulty walking and keeping her balance. We didn't tell her that I was hired for her, as she would have become fairly defensive about needing help. We started together in 4th grade at McNamara Elementary School. I wasn't sure how she felt about me even though she was pleasant and polite. I think she kind of fig-

ured out that I was there whether she wanted me to be or not. Three weeks after we met I was getting her ready to go out to the bus at the end of the day. She left the room and then all of a sudden reappeared, ran into my arms and said "I love you." My heart leapt with joy and I quickly answered back, " I love you too Tinikka." From that day on we were the best of buddies. Her disease quickly progressed to the point where it was necessary for her to have a wheelchair. She was so excited about it and the day it was delivered she could hardly contain herself. I saw why and could hardly contain my laughter. It was bright purple and all the accessories on it matched. We called it her chariot. Each year, the disease took it's toll on her little body. We were now at Ray Middle School in 6th grade. As big as the building was, I swear that everyone in the place knew her. I would push her down the hallway and all you heard was "Hi Tinikka" coming from every nook and cranny. She would yell and wave back with that awesome smile and I know she just lit up every room we went into. Seventh grade got harder. The academics turned into simply trying to get her to sit up straight and sit still. The disease made it almost impossible for her to not move around. Yet, she never once complained about anything. She had difficulty swallowing her food and I had to learn how to feed her so she wouldn't choke. She never complained about having to eat her lunch pureed or having to add a thickner to her drink so she could swallow. My admiration and love for her grew with each year. We were now at Durgee Jr. High and it was the most trying time in our years together for me. Her poor

little body was becoming so debilitated by this wretched disease yet she never lost her sense of humor. I remember one time we were in the hallway when one of our male teachers, who was very good looking, was walking in front of us. She turned around in her chair and very loudly said, "Boy he has a nice butt." I thought I was going to pass out. Instead I said to her "Tinikka Tonia Decker, shame on you". She looked back and said, "Well doesn't he?" I had to agree that indeed he certainly did. Tinikka knew all along that I suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis. She was constantly worried that my lifting her each day was going to hurt me. She never failed to ask me how I was feeling and if I was in pain. Her concern for my ailment which seemed so miniscule compared to hers, was overwhelming. I found out from a friend that she had asked the principal to get me an assistant. Tinikka was moved from her family home to Van Duyn Nursing Home during ninth grade because it was so difficult for her mom to care for her. She was up almost all night long and the family was getting no sleep. Still, Tinikka never complained. I was becoming more and more depressed about her situation. I loved this girl as if she


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were my own child. It hurt me so to see her go downhill so fast. I finally asked to be given another position in the district. This was in 1995. I continued to keep in touch with Tinikka and her mom and would go to the nursing home to see her. She was a pitiful little being, so thin, her body ravaged by the disease. On May 22, 1996 on a Wednesday evening about 9:00 p.m. her mom called me and said if I wanted to see her before she left us I should get up there right away. I was too shaken to drive so my husband Dick drove me up there. I wasn't prepared for the sight that met my eyes. Instead of the vibrant little girl I had always known, there lay a little waif weighing 46 pounds. She was barely awake, but I crawled in bed and held her in my arms. My heart was so very sad. I wasn't even sure if she knew who I was, but I said, Tinikka, it's Diane, I love you baby" She said "I know" and fell back to sleep. My phone rang on Saturday morning. It was her mom telling me that Tinikka had just passed away. My world fell apart. I cried like I had never cried before. How could a little girl have left such an impression on my heart? She was simply a "job" wasn't she? I got paid to take care of her didn't I? So why take it so hard?

I took it hard because, this child had changed me from the first day I met her. I had no idea at the time what was in store for me. She taught me more about courage than anyone I had ever known. She was undaunting in her spirit and her outlook on life. She was so busy changing other's lives she had no time to be selfish and worry about herself. She was always smiling, always concerned about me and everyone she came in touch with. As much as she hated needles, she would allow herself to be tested twice a month. In doing so the results could help diagnose another child with Huntington's. As a lasting tribute she offered her brain to medical science to help other kids like herself. I wrote a poem that I gave to her mom who was kind enough to place it in her casket during calling hours. Her funeral was a glorious event with lots of singing and praising and the release of hundreds of balloons at the gravesite to carry her love to heaven. Tinikka always wanted to be a ballet dancer. Her gravestone carries the inscription: "Dancing on streets that are golden." How appropriate for a child who danced her way through my heart and my life. I truly believe she is the prima ballerina of heaven. And a hero, you bet your life she is!

Grace and Healing Celebration With our praise band, Grace Alone! Praise and Expressive Worship! Every Sunday Night at CCUMC at 7:00 pm Prayers for Healing Body, Mind, Spirit & Relationships Follow Every Service.

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2009 CROP WALK Sunday, October 18 at 1:30 pm at the Salt Museum in Onondaga Lake Park. Our goal is to have 25 walkers participate and to raise $2500! Please help us meet that goal by signing up to walk or sponsoring a walker today! To join the CCUMC Team, see Patti Marvin or go to the missions page on our website for more information. ChristCommunityUMC.com


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C H R IST C O M M UN I T Y C L O SE -UP

Pastoral Ministry Musings Linda Prell, Director of Pastoral Care Our church has started the fall season off with a bang. We are extremely busy with numerous ministries in fullswing. We have been blessed to see the return of many folks in worship and also with many new faces joining us in worship, ministry, and mission. It is a very exciting time at Christ Community United Methodist Church. Sunday I watched as Pastor B.J., Rick Woodside and Pastor Wayne were preparing to leave for their mission trip to Uganda. There was a great deal of last minute packing. The suitcases were bulging at the seams and a zipper on one of them broke at the last minute. This suitcase was filled with prayer bears, coffee cups, books and puppet supplies. At 1:15 there was a flurry to find another suitcase. I live five minutes from the church and had a very large suitcase at home. I rushed home, got it, and we quickly packed it up for the trip. Watching them leave the church for the airport, filled with excitement, brought many thoughts to mind. Our missionaries are going to share the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, with hundreds of people in Uganda. By simply handing out prayer bears, clothes, cups, and numerous other items, people hearts will be greatly touched. Many of our folks have been working for a very long time to make the clothes and bears that are accompanying our missionaries. With every stitch sewn, every bit of stuffing put into the bears, every prayer lifted up, and each dollar raised, a part of each and every one of you is also traveling to Uganda. Many people have come together to help with

this project. Kudos to you all!! When I think of those overflowing suitcases it reminds me of the hearts of Christians. We become filled with the Holy Spirit. Many times our hearts overflow with His love and grace. Pastor B.J. speaks about Christians being a Holy Spirit-filled people. We don’t just zip ourselves up and keep it all to ourselves. We are to open our hearts and share the love of Christ with others just as the contents of those suitcases will be shared with the folks in Uganda. This is what we have been called to do. We don’t have to travel across the world in order to do this as not all are called to global mission. We can accomplish this right here. Sharing God’s infinite grace with others is sometimes as easy as a smile, a pat on the arm, or saying the simple words, “It will be alright. I am here to help you.” In whatever form our ministry and mission takes, it requires that we begin to empty ourselves of the grace we have been blessed with. God always refills us with the intention that we continue

V OLU ME 7 , I SSUE 6

to give it away. What a great gift we have been blessed with. It is the only thing that I can think of that we continue to receive when we give it away. There is no other gift that can compare with the Holy Spirit residing in our hearts. When the men return home they will come back with empty suitcases and very full hearts. They will be changed by what they have been blessed to see and experience. I dare say that they will probably feel as though they have received so much more than they gave. My suitcase will be empty but I can’t help but think of the classic book by Dr. Seuss titled, Oh! The Places You’ll Go. What extraordinary tales my suitcase would share if it could only speak. Tales of small faces lit up with joy when the zipper was opened and the gifts of love shared. Let us all remember that, like the suitcases going to Uganda, our hearts need to be unzipped and opened up. Don’t let them stay filled to overflowing. Let’s open our hearts and continue to give away the grace that we have been blessed with. Like the suitcases, God will always fill us back up for the next journey He calls us to take.

CCUMC Close-up Oct. 2009  

Christ Community United Methodist Church magazine

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