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CHRIST COMMUNITY CLOSE-UP A Magazine of Christ Community United Methodist Church Volume 7, Issue 5

Christ Community United Methodist Church 3474 Stiles Road Syracuse, NY 13209 (315) 457-9382 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)* Church Secretary: Dona Dalton 457-9382 (church) Director of Christian Education : Julie Valeski 457-9382 (church)* Pastoral Care: Pastor Linda Prell 457-9382 Music Director: Phill Sterling 638-4956 (home)* Associate Music Director: Denise Weeks-Bush 635-7175 (home)* Director of Communications: Heather Claver 468-6811 (home)* * All email addresses are

September 2009

On the web at:

Celebrating Education A message from Rev. Dr. B. J. Norrix, Senior Pastor There has been a debate among Christian leaders over the past several centuries. The debate, simply put, centers around the question: “is Christianity caught more than taught or is it taught more than it is caught.” Most healthy thinking people are immediately aware that the truth is probably a little of both. I caught the faith from another believer but I had to be taught to understand the basic stories, truths and practices of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Julie, BJ, Suzanne & Sue at VBS

At Christ Community we are striving to develop a Children’s Ministry that is both a place where people can catch a good dose of Jesus while being a place where our children and

youth can learn the biblical story and essential Christian living. In this edition of “Close Up” you will find a lot of important information on the Fall Sunday School Ministry. As you will see we are doing a lot of teaching, but we are also creating experiences (such as missions, events, youth groups, outings, etc.) where our children and youth will be exposed to practicing Christ followers and be invited to do the same. Keep Julie Valeski and her team in your prayers as they continue to lead and develop our Children’s Ministries. They are doing an excellent job!

Sunday School Kick-off: Sept. 13 A message from Director of Christian Education, Julie Valeski I would like to start off by saying a great big “THANK YOU” to all those people that helped with VBS this summer. Sue Dibble and Sue Acker did an amazing job of coordinating all of the volunteers and participants that came every night. A special thank you to all of the volunteers that helped run our shops and participated in the skits and dramas. You were all amazing!!! We even got to rap and break dance! Did you hear that we sampled “rat on a stick” and “stuffed swine intestines?!” YUM! I hope to see everyone back next August 15th thru 19th as we travel to Egypt!

Maddy Enjoying “Rat on a Stick”

A very loving “thank you” also goes out to all of the people that volunteered to help teach Summer Sunday School. It was so much fun as we set sail every week with our friends the Veggie Tales!

We even got to dance in front of the fiery furnace and weather a big storm! We couldn’t have done it without everyone that helped! Also a big “THANK YOU” in advance to everyone who makes our Sunday School Ministry and our Kick Off such a huge success every year! A special thank you to Marsha Dillon, Karen Woodside, Laurel Frega, and Sue Rayo for helping to get the rooms organized, decorate the fellowship hall, and to Tom Dillon for painting our Ark on the wall in the Fellowship Hall. Continued on page 4




Mission Team News Cathy Cronk

Christ Community UMC Mission Team Vision Statement Provide each person at CCUMC with the opportunity to participate in missions—locally, nationally and globally—so that we may fulfill and obey Christ’s great commission. (Acts 1:8). 1. Pray- prayer is the foundation of all our mission work. 2. Cultivate a mission focused culture within our church. 3. Identify potential opportunities in our local community, state, nation and world. 4. Teach about and facilitate missions. 5. Support short and long term missions and missionaries. 6. Embrace a balanced approach to missions where each part of the body contributes according to one’s gifts and talents. About 14 of our mission team members gathered at my house in August for some food, fellowship and planning. I was blessed to see so many

who have a heart for mission and who have yielded their lives to the Lord’s service. Some of us have gone to far away places, some have reached out to our local community and some have been called to pray for our mission team, our church and the missions we are involved in. As you can see in our Mission Team Vision, we want to provide every CCUMC member with opportunities to fulfill Christ’s great commission. I was reminded of the story when Jesus feeds the five thousand. I have heard this story many times in life but it took on new meaning to me when I thought of it from the boy’s perspective. The Bible doesn’t say much about him but he must have been brave. He had courage enough to approach Jesus and his disciples with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He certainly must have known that what he had was not enough to feed all those people. In John’s version of the story (6:8), it is Andrew who spoke up and told Jesus of the boy with the lunch box and in Matthew’s account (14:19), Jesus took the loaves

and the fish. He didn’t laugh at him but instead He took them, “gave thanks and he broke the loaves.” I bet Jesus looked at the boy with such love in His eyes because he had given all he had. When you look closely at this story it wasn’t until Jesus held the loaves and fish that He could multiply them. That is what He is still looking for today, He wants to take our lives, hold them, bless them and then multiply them. God is calling us to yield our lives to Him so that he can use us in a mighty way. If you are looking for a way to be involved, we would ask that you would help with the most important part of missions—prayer. We gather the third Wednesday of every month to pray for missions, missionaries, our community and our church. Our next prayer gathering will be September 23rd at 7:00 pm in the Ginny Nelson Chapel (go out the back left corner door of the Sanctuary to find the Chapel). At this gathering we will pray for the Uganda Mission Team!

Men’s Ministry Update Bill Dibble and Joe Frega, Co-Chairs Has this summer been so busy that you don’t know where the time went? Did you find a way to help someone in need? The CCUMC Moving Ministry has helped a few of our members as they changed residences (but not churches!). This ministry can be an unheralded blessing for those who need it, providing an unusual form of fellowship at what is normally a very trying time. Those who have participated in the Moving Ministry have always been met with heartfelt thanks (and sometimes some wonderful cooking); it is a ministry that not only moves people but also their hearts. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, please contact Gary Glenn or any of the Men’s Ministry team.

Our Annual Fall Dinner in in just a couple of weeks, on Friday September 18 at 7:00 pm. Greg Wright from Habitat for Humanity will be our guest speaker. We look forward to learning more about the Habitat Re-Store and its “deconstruction” projects. A full meal is planned (a love offering will be passed); all interested church members are invited to attend. Details will be in the bulletin insert and on the web site and Men’s Ministry bulletin board. And remember the Chicken BBQ is on October 3. Sign-up sheets will be out soon so you can volunteer to help out. We always have a fun day cooking and serving chicken and fixings!

Sam & Joe Frega (top)

Sue & Bill Dibble (right) at VBS




Going Backpacking? Laurel Frega

What do 120 filled backpacks look like? A living room, a kitchen, and an entire basement full of school supplies. What kind of team would assemble 120 backpacks? The Missions Team, the Food Pantry, Christian Education, Senior High, a few special Teachers, and an entire congregation! Now, thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication (and bargain hunting!) 120 filled, colorful backpacks are being sent out to those who need them: 40 for our Karin refugee friends and their families, 60 to a church on the north side of Syracuse (Father’s Hearth Ministries), and 20 are staying right here at Christ Community UMC.

As each backpack is sponsored by a person or a family for a small donation, and given to a student in need, we each help this mission grow and we help so many students succeed. When Mark Cavanaugh dropped the packs off at Father’s Heart Ministries he learned that a church that has been bringing 100 backpacks for many years was unable to do that this year—our 60 packs helped fill the breach! That’s the power of God’s love.

The Backpack Assembly Team (pictured): Cathy Cronk, Nate Cronk, Sophia Cronk, Ariana Rosario, Julie Valeski, Laurel Frega, Karen Frega, Samantha Frega

Dear Mark, Let your Pastor and congregation know just how much of a blessing your Church has been in assisting us with touching the lives of so may children here in the Inner-City of Syracuse. The photographs provided was from within our congregation of refugees from Africa (Specifically Burundi and Congo) Unfortunately it became an oversight on my part to get some other photos from the Iraqi and Bhutanese community due to the busy-ness of distributing all of them at the same time. Once again, thank you for partnering with us and it is my prayer that the 2 of us might have the opportunity to meet one another and continue to share in the partnership of touching others lives with the love and compassion of Christ! Sincerely for the cause of Christ, Pastor James M. Gebhardt

CONFIRMATION CLASS 2009-2010 Confirmation Class is being reworked for this Fall. An information meeting for prospective class members and their parents will be held on Sunday, September 13 at 4:00 pm at the Church. Our first class gathering will be an over night retreat on September 25 and 26 and regular classes will be held on Thursdays beginning in late October. If you or your child is in 7th grade, or age 12 or older and have not participated in a confirmation experience, plan to attend the informational gathering and join our group. This class is open to adults as well as youth. For more information contact Pastor BJ at 457-9382 or




Children’s Ministries Continued from page 1

It is only because of all of you, and the amazing team of teachers, that God has called to this ministry, that we are able to have such a successful Sunday school! I couldn’t organize this ministry and all of the events by myself. Each person that is involved in this ministry gives of their time and resources consistently and freely! I frequently watch and listen in amazement as God helps all of us come together for the sake of our children. It is our goal to touch the lives of as many kids as possible with God’s love! Together as a church (and God’s guidance!) we can do the work He has called us to do! We have sponsored all 120 backpacks that we stuffed for our Karin friends and their neighbors. Thanks to all who helped gather supplies, stuff the backpacks and to those who sponsored them! This was definitely a mission project that God placed upon our hearts! Next year we will start earlier and hopefully be able to stuff double the number! For those of you that are teachers, or know a teacher, please see a coordinator because we will need your help to gather the specials at the different stores in large quantities. For all parents and grandparents of our Sunday School kids, our first Bring Your Parent to Sunday School is on Sunday, September 20th. It is important that you attend because we will be explaining more of our “Fill the Ark” Mission Project. It will be a great time to meet the teachers, other students, and parents in the class! Our first Children’s Ministries covenant meeting will be held on October 5th at 12:15 SHARP! This covenant is for all workers with our children and youth. This includes all coordinators, teachers and youth group leaders. Please come and pray, eat and talk together! On the menu is salad and pizza. We still need a few more people to volunteer with the Sunday School Ministry. We need another team of two people for 9am service.

A good time was had by all at Vacation Bible School! We will have three teams that will rotate teaching so that each team teaches every third week. We also need a couple of subs for the 10:45 service and two people to assistant teach for some of our bigger classes. If you are being called to this ministry, or know someone who would be good at it, please see me or a coordinator. Our first Social Committee event will be our Fall Dine and Slime on October 17 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. We had so much fun last year, that we’ve decided to invite Professor Gizmo and all of his assistants back again this year! We will have the Fall Harvest Dinner from 5:00-6:00pm and then the big event! There will be new crafts and a new science experiment to help us visualize God’s love for us! We have quite a few volunteers coming back from last year, but could always use a few more! If you would like to help coordinate this event or have some fun ideas to add, our Social Committee Planning Meeting will be held on October 7th at 6:00pm. Slime and Dine is sure to be an “oozing” good time. This event is a great way to get our church family together and a wonderful way to introduce our

friends and experience our church community. Please don’t forget to sign up on the attendance sheet so we know how many people to plan for and for a food or beverage to share. Sign up sheets will be located on the Sunday School table in the Fellowship Hall closer to the date of the event. Please look for the “Mad Scientist” fund to donate money to this worthy cause! Our Children’s Ministries Birthday Party will be held on Sunday, October 18th in between services. Please look for our helping arks which will be hanging in the fellowship hall. On each ark will be listed a need the Sunday School has. If you see a need that you can fill, please take the ark and bring the item to our Birthday Party. There will be cake and punch for everyone! Check out the tear out planning calendar on the next page. On it is listed all of the events for our Sunday School and Social Events. Please hang it someplace easily accessible so that you and your family don’t miss out on some fun and unique opportunities! God has given us an amazing crew to guide and direct our church’s children and youth and I thank Him daily! Please keep us in your prayers as we do you!




2009-2010 Children’s Ministries Activities Sunday School “Kick-off” Bring Your Parent to SS

September 13 September 20

Bible Sunday Fall Dine & Slime CM Birthday Party

October 4 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

January 16 5-8pm.

Church Luau

February 27 5-8pm.

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny

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

Christ Community UMC Senior High Youth Group All ninth through twelfth graders are invited to join our fun and creative group. Come Sundays from 5:00—7:00 pm to play games, worship, and engage in Christian outreach. Enjoy snacks and grow through small group discussions and peer support. Join us for fun in the Son! For more information contact Betty Jo Flask at 863-1638 or Also, we developed a new mission statement to express what we're all about. It's this: Worship, Servantship, Friendship, Laughship Upcoming Events are listed on the “Senior High Youth” page on the church’s website: You can sign-up to receive monthly Email updates and events too, or email Zach at

Children’s Ministry Team ♥ Julie Valeski: 635-9516,

♥ Susan Rayo: 635-8937,

♥ Karen Woodside: 695-4514,

♥ Marsha Dillon: 487-0923,

♥ Laurel Frega: 218-7128,

♥ Amy Tyler: 708-4669

We SURVIVED! The youth group's trip to Delbarton, WV was nothing less than life changing for some, and then for others it was just a great time. Some of us got the chance to bond with the kids of Delbarton while others got the chance to bond with Banjo the cat. Yes, we named a cat Banjo. Luckily, we all got the chance to bond with some amazing Christian kids (and some adults) from Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (not to mention the fact that we got to grow closer to our own group from good ol' NY). We'll probably never know to what extent our time spent down there will do to the people that we left there but we do know what that experience did for each of us. --Rachel Prell




More Mission News • Hope for Africa Children’s Choir will be in our area from October 22-October 25th. This choir is from

Kampala, 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 at 635-6680 or

• The "Dress Our People" team is still accepting donations of cotton blended fabric (any/

all colors/patterns), thread (any/all colors), trims/notions/scissors of any and all kinds, monetary donations (to purchase materials and ship the suitcase when Pastor BJ travels), and most importantly, your prayers for those cutting and sewing and the women and children to receive these gifts of God's love in Uganda. Our goal is somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 to 300 outfits of dresses, skirts and tops for little girls and shorts and tops for little boys. We currently have 146 finished—that's halfway to our goal. We are desperately in need of people to sew and cut. We meet at the Church every other Thursday night at 6:30pm (Next Meeting: September 24). Simple patterns and material are available and any one who wants to can come and pick out material to take home and sew. There are also 5 sewing machines at the Church for anyone to come and use on Thursday nights. Thank you for your continued support and prayers! Any questions? Contact: Barb Walter or Carol Harper.

• Crop Walk: we are looking for people who would help with this event. If you can help please see Patti Marvin.

Fighting Hunger, Filling the CCUMC Food Pantry By Karen and Laurel Frega Have you ever felt like you found the ministry that God meant for you? Just last month, we felt that way when we got the chance to work in the Food Pantry. With some elbow grease and TLC, it’s a bright and inviting place for people in need. We have new hours; the Pantry is open and unlocked on Sundays for any congregants who need a helping hand; stop in and grab a box of food if you need it. Each box holds over a week’s worth of food including breakfast, lunch and dinner, so the only thing to add from the shelves is baby food or toiletries. The boxes help us rotate the food and ensure enough food for everyone. The Pantry is also open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00-2:00; ask Dona or Heather for the key. Keep in mind the Food Pantry isn’t just for our church family; if you know other families in need the CCUMC Food Pantry is open to everyone. We also have a few filled backpacks from the Missions tea if you know a kid in need. A Food Bank/Food Pantry update: A few weeks ago, we decided to call the Food Bank to see if they could supplement our Food Pantry with their supplies. Unfortunately, their amount of need far surpasses their amount of food, so we will continue to do what we do best as a congregation—filling our Food Pantry ourselves! Finally, we’d like to thank the people who have signed up for our weekly email list; the response has been fantastic. If you haven’t signed up for the list yet, and want to be reminded on Thursdays what the Food Pantry needs are for that week, please email us at You can also find out what we’re collecting for the week by visiting the Mission page on the CCUMC website: Keep an eye out as the Food Pantry continues to grow and expand – if you have any ideas or would like to help, please let us know!

Karen Frega stocking our food pantry




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

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

Julie Valeski, Director, Christian Education 635-9516

Amy Tyler, Nursery Coordinator 457-9382

Phill Sterling, Music Director 457-9382

Gail Thompson, Nethanim (custodian) 457-9382

Denise Weeks-Bush, Associate Music Director 457-9382

Worship Teams News 9:00 AM Sonrise Choir Our choir will resume rehearsals on Thursday, September 24, from 7PM to 8:15PM in the sanctuary. Our schedule after that will be 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 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 for more details. Cloverleaf Children’s Choir Children's Choir will be having their first meeting on September 20th at 10:00 in the piano room. We look forward to building relationships with the children and helping them explore and develop their musical interests. We also look forward to bringing some energetic praise and worship to our church family. For more information see Chris and Shelly Peters Inspired Expressions Dance Team Our Dance Team practices on Thursdays at 6:00 pm. New members of all ages welcome. See Chris Haskins or Lynnie Janson for more information. Drama Team DRAMA TEAM KICK-OFF: Friday, Sept. 25 at 7:00 pm. Come show us your talents—or just stop by if you want to find out what we’re all about. We’re looking for actors, writers, and behind the scenes people. All ages welcome! See Betty Kline or Joe Frega for more information.




Staffing Update Effective September 15, Heather Q. Claver has moved to three-quarter time (from halftime) and has been appointed the new Director of Communications and Special Assistant to Pastor B.J. Norrix. Heather can be found at church on most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Heather has been part of the CCUMC staff team since July of 2003 as support for Roger Parker and our Ministries Assistant. In addition to her regular duties as Close-Up Editor, Webmaster and providing support for our Ministries and Missions teams, Heather will be responsible for promoting CCUMC events and activities around the church and in the broader community. If your team needs help promoting an event or project contact Heather at church at 457-9382 or email her at Beginning on October 1, Julie Valeski will officially be our full-time Director of Christian Education. In addition to her duties as our Sunday School Director, Julie will be responsible for organizing and supporting our small groups, classes and bible studies for adults. If you have an idea for a small group or class contact Julie at church at 457-9382 or email her at

Happy Anniversary to our Karin Friends Our Karin friends were here on August 30 to celebrate the first anniversary of their arrival in Syracuse and to thank Christ Community for their help and support, especially Pam and Wayne Suddaby, Joe and Karen Frega and Shelly Peters. The family sang a song they wrote “God Bless You, In All You Do.” Debbie Viggo of the Center for New American’s said at Annual Conference this year, “Christ Community thought were adopting a family and ended up adopting a neighborhood.”

Marching Band Fund Raiser The Baldwinsville Marching Band is selling coupon books as a fund raiser, to help the band raise money for their fall trip to New York City. Books are $20 and 50% goes to the band members. Coupons are for many local restaurants and businesses. Two members of the marching band are Matt Noll and Brittany Maxwell (Diane DeJohn's granddaughter). You can contact the students or Phill Sterling, Coordinator for the marching band at 638-4956 or




Taste and See

Heather's TEAL Ribbon Walk

A candlelight "Catacombs" style worship service done in both an ancient and contemporary style.

September 27, 2009 at Onondaga Lake Park Registration for walkers is 8 AM to 9 AM The walk begins at 9:00 AM Sharp Prizes will be awarded at 10:30AM

Saturday November 7, 2009 7:00 pm-8:30 pm There is no charge for this event. Jen and Cory Fugimori (with help from Mark Cavanaugh and Pastor BJ Norrix) will lead you in an hour of worship with songs focusing on the power of God and the gift of Christ's sacrifice. Times of prayer and scripture readings as well as any word given by God to those attending will be interwoven throughout the music. Communion will also be served. We firmly believe that the idea for this concert was given to us by God for a specific reason and that He has a special message for each person who attends. You don't want to miss this. Please feel free to SPREAD THE WORD and BRING YOUR FRIENDS! Our goal is to use this event to touch as many lives as possible, but we need your help in getting the word out.

Heather Week’s family and friends are hosting a 5K Walk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness in her memory. Bring your friends, relatives and coworkers and help us paint the park TEAL; honoring and supporting relatives or friends that have been affected by Ovarian Cancer. Registration Fees: Individual walker: $20 Team/family members: $20 for the first person, $15 for each individual family or team member. Registered walkers will receive a t-shirt (quantities may be limited—first come, first serve.) Star of Honor: Honor a friend or loved one at the walk! We will place a star along the walk with your loved one's name. Stars may be taken home after the walk. Requires a $5 donation for each star. Requests must be received by September 20, 2009.






You Might Be A Weed If...

A talk Sue Acker gave at Grace Service one Sunday night When I was growing up, a long, long time ago, I was in 4H and every year we would have demonstration days. We had to write a talk, get dressed up and deliver the talk showing how to do something—ideally how to do something that we knew how to do! It was a great exercise and really helped develop public speaking skills. It was a competition complete with blue ribbons and competitions at the local, county and state levels. One of the highlights of my time in 4H was when I actually did make it to the state level one year—it would have been better if I had not had laryngitis. But that’s another story. Tonight I thought that we would go back to those days, if you don’t mind, so I brought along a few supplies. I’m going to speak about flower arranging. All we need is a table, a basket for the arrangement and some flowers. Ooops. It looks like they are almost all weeds. Well they are almost all weeds. I’m not good at growing things, but I love the stuff that God grows. So to give this talk I got all dressed up in my 14 cent suit and brought in a bunch of weeds and a basket. What’s that? You don’t know about my 14 cent suit? Well let me tell you about it. You see I like to go to yard sales and rummage sales. One day I was at a rummage sale when the “$1 a bag sale” started. I bought a bag and began to shop. I found this suit among several other things—it had a little coffee spill on the front, but it looked like it would clean up nicely. I didn’t know when I would wear it, but it was my size so I put it in the bag. After all you never know when you might need to dress up. When I got home I figured out how much I had spent per item, while Skip doesn’t mind if I spend a dollar or two, he is really impressed when I find, as I did that, that I spent only 7 cents per item! So at 7 cents per item my suit cost 14 cents! I wore the suite tonight because it fits nicely to the point of the talk—

”You Might Be A Weed If”— you see, the world would tell us that you can’t wear something like this, it isn’t “stylish,” or it isn’t expensive enough. Basically, you could be a weed if you wear a 14 cent suit! Matthew 7:31 says, “So do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what shall we wear?” And in verse 33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all those things will be given to you as well.” But back to flower arranging, I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, so wish me luck. To start flower arranging I like to get something to fill in a lot of space—for instance, this fern grows very well out in our field behind the house. Kind of like a little sea of humanity. All there, all growing, crowded together, all alike, but different. I have a wet floral sponge in the basket here and I will just stick in some of these people, er—ferns in various places. Just like plain people, all the same, but all a little different filling in the spaces around us—at the mall, at the job, in our churches and neighborhoods—like filler fern. For God so loved the world (everyone, even the ferns), that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:16). After I put the filler fern in, I begin to think about how to make the flowers best stand out and which flowers to use. As I was growing up, I knew I was a weed. My mother was pretty clear that she didn’t like me, well actually

she really didn’t like most of us. I felt like a weed. You could be a weed if you have been rejected by someone who should have loved you. Sweet peas are an incredibly beautiful weed. They are delicate and different and they reflect the light of the sun in an amazing way—their color gets very rich in the sunlight. The first time I really noticed them they were nestled in a bed of green stuff out in the field. The sunlight was reflecting off them and the dew that was still clinging to the petals, the beauty took my breath away, praise jumped out of my mouth. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16 So we will put some sweet peas into our arrangement. The world likes to put conditions on our being accepted, or on those things that make us valuable: • You are “old” (remember that old is probably more in the eyes of the one making the statement then it is necessarily based on “truth”). Anyhow, if you’re “old” you might be a weed. I love the old fashioned looks of Queen Anne’s lace. Tiny clusters of flowers held together for God’s design. I want some of them in my arrangement. We need people of all ages in our lives and the life of the church of well—let’s get some of them in our arrangement. • Life deals us little changes, differences, joys and problems. Some people are told they are weeds because the company they work for no longer needs them. Many people have been downsized out the door—you are no longer useful—like dry grasses, no longer growing, just good for mowing. But God tells us I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.



Continued on page 11 Continued from page 10 Recently Skip was laid off for awhile. That lay-off gave him time to rest his legs which had become increasingly painful to him. Because he was laid off he agreed to go to the Life Screening event sponsored by the Health Ministry where the pain was identified. Angioplasty surgery was then scheduled to alleviate the problem. And he has now been called back to work. • Sometimes we are even told that we are a weed because of our health or physical limitations— as if we’re not needed. I became aware of this when my motherin-law was in a wheelchair and there were times when we took her places, or tried to—there are all kinds of places that you can not take someone in a wheelchair—from stores to churches. A person with a disability can tell you they feel like weeds when they are excluded because of physical limitations. Psalms 139: 13-14 says, For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. We are not forgotten weeds in God’s economy, we are valued by the one who created us. Our little granddaughter, Hannah, was born with a huge birthmark covering much of one side

Hannah, the Acker’s Granddaughter

of her face. We were concerned once she started school, her schoolmates would relegate her to weed-dom by teasing and laughter because she looked different. The doctor said be patient, it will fade. Today she is a happy three and a half year old. She is filled with joy. We went to North Carolina to visit in April. When we went outside she said, “Grandma, I want to show you my garden.” She ran up a little hill as fast as she could, leaned over and picked something, “Isn’t it beautiful?” she grilled up as she held it up— an over it’s time dandelion—”Oh Grandma, it’s so beautiful!” She only has a slight remainder of that birthmark now, but with or without it, she is a child that has always been overflowing with joy.

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.


Here’s the point of this little flower arrangement—you may be a weed to some, but God wants us to know, to remember, and to live this: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs to God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17 I still struggle with feeling like a weed and becoming discouraged as if I will always be regulated to weed category. However that is the time when I need to remind myself that God made beautiful flowers to grow in different places. He made people to serve in different places, to not look all alike. He made different personalities and different spiritual gifts. There is beauty in the weeds, there is beauty in your life and in mine. You might be a weed, but you are more importantly a beloved child of the King. Hannah’s joy in her laughter, on her face and in her life—she knows she is loved. Does your life reflect the Son, the glorify of God’s grace? The wonder of his love? You might be a weed according to human measurements—but you don’t have to look the mirror by anyone’s standards but the King!



Pastoral Ministry Musings Linda Prell, Director of Pastoral Care I have recently had the joy of taking my youngest daughter to look at colleges. She is so excited. She is about to start her senior year of high school and is already looking forward to graduation so that she can start on the next leg of her journey into adulthood. She will learn new things, meet new people, and forge new friendships. It reminds me of the journey we take as Christians. Upon realizing who Jesus Christ is, our Lord and Savior, we know that our lives are going to be forever changed. We start on a new journey with the knowledge that we are not traveling alone. Jesus always walks with us helping to guide our way. He places people in our lives to encourage and strengthen us along the way. This journey is the one that helps us to mature as people of faith. It is full of hills and valleys, but when we reflect on the journey to date, we sometimes are able to see God’s plan materializing for each of us. It is an exciting time and the possibilities are endless. Like our high school students, we also face

new journeys. It matters not what our age is, the journey is always continuing. I have been watching new friendships develop as people join together in ministry; people that would not have had the opportunity to get to know each other if it weren’t for God calling them to a specific ministry. Christianity is not a private affair. It is communal. We have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and we have relationships with one another because of our relationship with Jesus. I have recently found an acrostic for the word friendship that I would like to share: F: Fun loving: Faithful R: Risk being real, even misunderstood I: Interested in the welfare of others E: Expect the best of others N: Natural relationship; Nonexclusive D: Diplomatic; Delightful; Durable S: Sympathetic; Supportive; Stable H: Helpful; Hopeful; Happy I: Interdependent by helping others P: Patient; Protective of confidences; Personable The acrostic for friendship also


encompasses many of the things that we employ in pastoral ministry. The pastoral care ministry is a great place to start developing relationships with those who are unable to be with us on Sunday mornings and with one another. As the Director of Pastoral Care for our church I am obviously very excited about pastoral ministry. It is wonderful to see the different pastoral ministries that are emerging at Christ Community United Methodist Church. Our F.I.S.H. ministry is a blessing. Lynnie Janson and her team plan funeral luncheons and prepare food for people in need. Naomi’s Table is a wonderful ministry that has been organized for widows by Nancy Karins. It is a relatively new ministry in our church. If you are a widow and would like to be involved, please contact Nancy or myself and we can help you get connected. This fall, with God’s help, I plan on reorganizing the Barnabas Team. It will probably be divided into sub-ministries that center on specific aspects of pastoral care: prayer team ministry, visitation ministry, communion ministry, card ministry, etc. There will be announcements with more information about these ministries early in the fall. If you feel led to be involved in this type of ministry, there will be many diverse ways in which you could connect with others. Please be in prayer about it.

Fall Flower Bulb Sale—Raise Funds for YOUR CCUMC Group or Ministry We are holding a church wide fundraiser to benefit our small groups and our general fund. The flower bulb sale is a program that Phill Sterling has run thru the Baldwinsville Schools with great success. Dutch Mills provides beautiful, full color catalogs of 18 types of bulbs which are planted in the fall before the ground freezes, and they grow in the spring. Each package sells for $6 and we earn $3. Anyone can sell these to benefit their CCUMC small group or ministry. Simply fill in on the order sheet, "I am fund raising for: “your group name here—like dance ministry, or FISH, or health ministry" and fill in the church group. If you do not have a special group, simply fill in "CCUMC" and earnings will go to the general fund. The sale will run 2 weeks, September 13 to September 27 and all orders must be in and prepaid by noon on the 27th. Checks should be payable to "CCUMC" and please indicate "Bulb Sale" in the check memo. Order forms and brochures will be handed out on the 13th. The bulbs will be delivered around Columbus Day and are guaranteed to grow or the company will replace them. If you have any questions, please contact Phill Sterling at 638-4956 or

CCUMC Close-Up  

Christ Community United Methodist Church magazine

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