Final Thoughts “Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.” – Bridget Willard
New Hope Staff
Pastor: Francis VanDelden Admin. Assistant: Gingy Socash Nursery Coordinator: Traci Poppert
Words of Hope Newsletter
Francis VanDelden, Moderator Steve Hake, Clerk, Teacher Dennis Caruso Karl Koops Tom McClellan Dave Myers Jason Rundell Jim Seiler, Elder Emeritus
Editors: Kim Jernigan and Mary Troxel Elder Liason: Steve Hake Send story ideas, comments, photographs to Kim Jernigan at email@example.com
5305A Jefferson Pike Frederick, Maryland 21703 301-694-3595
Now meeting at: Wye Creek Property 5305A Jefferson Pike Frederick, Maryland 21703 301-694-3595
• October Homecoming Service • Summer Missions Reports • Harvest Supper • “Fathers of the Christian Faith”
Words of Hope September 2012
A news forum for the New Hope Community
New Building Becomes a Reality! As this newsletter was going to ‘press,’ several ‘key players’ at New Hope were coming down to the wire with building inspections, final details and moving plans. New Hope will hold its first service in the new building on September 23. This has been a long time coming as the congregationhas been meeting at Parkway Elementary since around 2000.
A very special thank you is extended to all who have worked on the building (contractors and architects) and to those who have bought furniture, picked carpet colors, designed the nursery, stocked the kitchen, etc. In some way, nearly everyone has been involved in this process. However, two people seem to be the ‘glue’ that has held everything together. A hearty thank you is extended to Gingy Socash and David Chism for overseeing much of this process the last 6 months. Without their tireless effort, we may not be in this very special home today. Please make sure to thank all those individuals who have been involved!
Special Service Getting the Word Out
On October 14, we will be holding a special service to celebrate being in the new building. In a sense, this will be an old fashioned homecoming, as many previous members, pastors and all of the contractors and other key figures in the building process, will be invited. Invitations have gone out, fliers distributed with information and on September 30, we will have special postcards to distribute! Also, look for our ad in the Frederick News Post and the Brunswick Citizen (small community paper serving the Jefferson and Brunswick communities!
• Summer News from our Pastor • Regional Church News • Augustine of Hippo
Pastor’s Page: Pastor Francis VanDelden This summer New Hope started a men’s ministry in order to develop deeper relationships between the men of the congregation, and to grow closer to God. On the first Saturday of every month we get together from 8-9:30am. We begin with a good breakfast and coffee, and then move to the living room to watch a Tim Keller DVD and discuss it. Keller’s “The Gospel and the City” has been helpful in pressing the gospel into all aspects of life. In our first study he asked “do you love the city, use it or avoid it?” In the next study he dug deeper into what motivates us, showing that the gospel alone meets our deepest needs and desires. We plan to keep up this pattern throughout the year, although in the fall and spring we also plan to do a couple of book studies over several weeks. Soon we’ll begin the first book which is called “Addictions, A Banquet in the Grave.” It takes a hard look at how we all struggle with various addictions and how we can overcome them.
You never know what twists this men’s group will take -it wouldn’t surprise me if we took on some diaconal need, or invited the young fellas out for a camp out. At the moment we have about 10-12 guys come out every Saturday. You’re welcome to join us, and feel free to invite friends or neighbors.
Check out the pastor’s blog at: newhopeopc.org/blog
Regional Church News Presbytery meets to deal with matters that are of common interest to the churches in the region, thus “Regional Church News.” On September 16th, Presbytery met at Bethel OPC in Fredericksburg at 8:00am. Steve Hake and I attended from New Hope (no elder could make it). The day opened with a devotional from Gerald Taylor, pastor of Trinity Reformed in Lanham, Maryland. He gave a very encouraging exposition of 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 - “you are our letter of recommendation from Christ” -the work that Jesus Christ does in the lives of His children is the greatest commendation of the work of the ministry. We then spent about 45 minutes sharing prayer requests and praying for one another’s congregations. Presbytery is essentially a time to hear reports from standing committees -groups who do the business of the presbytery on an ongoing basis - and then to take action on their recommendations. One committee, Home Missions, focuses on church planting within our presbytery. Of note is the “call” that was extended to Steve Doe, former pastor of Bethel OPC, to serve as a full-time Regional Home Missionary, focusing on planting churches within our presbytery. You may remember we increased our budget to help support this -and now it’s falling into place -praise the Lord! The Visitation Committee respond to requests from congregations which are experiencing problems beyond their ability to handle themselves. “Grace and Peace” in California, MD, has had ongoing division within the congregation, and an augmented session was assigned a few months ago at their request - temporary Ruling and Teaching Elders from other congregations. There has been great healing within the congregation and
it appears that things are moving toward the Visitation Committee no longer being needed, for which the whole presbytery gave thanks. Another church, “Dayspring,” has been struggling numerically for almost 10 years, and the presbytery has been involved in financial support and spiritual encouragement for some time. They have now reached the point where they believe the wisest course of action is to close the church, and the presbytery concurred. Pray for these brothers and sisters as they “wind down” the ministry there. Pray that they will find good church homes nearby, and also pray for Pastor Bennet Wethered and his family as they face an uncertain future. The Candidates and Credentials Committee had only two items for us: one was the examination for ordination of Steve Brown, who has been called as Associate Pastor at Grace OPC in Vienna. He sustained his trial (yes - that’s what we call it, and that’s what it is!) and will be installed as Associate Pastor at Grace in early December. The other was bringing Zachary Simmons under the care of the presbytery. This young man has a desire to enter the ministry. When he is taken under care that is formally recognized by Presbytery and we seek to observe and advance his character and growth in that time. The next Presbytery meeting will be at Grace OPC in Vienna, on Saturday December 1st, from 8:00am until 5:00pm (or 2:30, like this time). If you’ve read this far, you might be interested in joining us! It’s a great opportunity to get a close-up view of what it means to be Presbyterian, and there are often one or two families who attend for that purpose. Plus, there’s a free lunch! Adapted from a report by Pastor Phil Proctor
Augustine of Hippo by Mary Troxel
One of the most famous Church Fathers was Augustine of Hippo, a teacher, orator, philosopher, bishop, theologian, preacher, and apologist born in 354 AD. Raised by Patrick, a farmer, and Monica, a devout Christian, Augustine testified to his mother’s steadfast prayers for him throughout his life. Although Patrick was known to have bouts of anger, Monica would wait out Patrick’s anger, not engaging him in conversation until he had calmed down enough to listen to her side of an argument. It was not until Patrick was on his deathbed that he converted to Christianity, and his conversion owed a large part to Monica’s continual Christian witness.
Articles and News Last spring, we offered a feature on “Biblical Mothers of the Faith” and “Biblical Fathers of the Faith.” In an effort to continue that, and to provide insight into the early church, Mary Troxel will be writing some feature articles on various figures of the Christian faith.
Augustine’s conversion did not take as long as his father’s did, but Augustine’s path was a winding one. In Confessions, his autobiography written as a prayer to God, Augustine described how he stole for the thrill of the theft and not for the stolen item. As a young, intelligent student, he was the conceited top of his school and traveled to Carthage to study rhetoric, where he lived with a concubine for 13 years and fathered a son with her, Adeodatus. At the age of 19, Augustine read Cicero and made his first step toward conversion with a newfound desire for deeper truth. Therefore, he became a member of Manichaeism, a popular cult among young people of that era that argued the existence of dualism, the idea that there are dual forces—good and evil—as the highest things in the universe. When he was 29, Augustine went to Rome to teach, and, when he found his students too unruly, he moved to Milan. In Milan, Augustine read Plotinus and discovered the Neo-Platonists, a cult that believed evil was the deprivation or corruption of good. Just as light is a real thing and darkness is the absence of light, so also the Neo-Platonists believed good is a real thing and evil is the absence of good. However, Neo-Platonists believed that nothing could be completely evil because then it wouldn’t exist, as evil is the absence of good. It was not until later in his life that Augustine disagreed with the Neo-Platonists and argued evil is a choice, a direction, a decision, not the absence of choice. While in Milan, Augustine met Ambrose, a bishop 14 years his senior who was a devout follower of Christ, and Augustine attended church with Ambrose because it was expected that the leaders of society were Christian. Through Ambrose’ mentoring, Augustine realized there was a personal, transcendental God, but Augustine also realized he was not willing to give up the momentary pleasure of his relationship with his concubine. Although Augustine did give up his concubine in 381 AD at the urgings of Monica, who urged Augustine to marry, he soon found comfort from the grief of the lost relationship in taking another mistress. It was not until 386 AD in the afternoon that Augustine went into his garden, angry with himself, that he finally saw the beauty of chastity. In
his garden, Augustine heard a child’s voice in Latin tell him to “take and read,” so Augustine opened up the Bible he had next to him and read Romans 13. Augustine was so convicted by the passage, his own sinful state, and his absolute need for Christ that he became a Christian and was baptized the next Easter by Ambrose. At 38 years old, Augustine traveled to a town in Africa, Hippo, where he was forced into the priesthood and catapulted out of a life of contemplation into a life of action. He gained civil authority over church members and served the church in Hippo for 40 years, where he wrote his famous City of God, a book describing the difference between the Church and society, or the City of Man. As a bishop, Augustine waged verbal battle against the Donatists, a schism of Christianity that outnumbered Christian church members by 350 AD. The Donatists rejected the sacraments conducted by invalid or improperly ordained bishops, thus declaring the church not sacred. Augustine argued that the sacraments were valid by virtue of the act itself, using the term “ex opere operato,” or “out of work working.” After all, grace comes from Christ, not a pure or sinless priest, and Augustine argued that Donatists, as a schism from the Christian church and not the orthodox Christian church, did not have properly ordained ministers because they weren’t part of the true church. While in Hippo and 4 years after his conversion, Augustine wrote his Confessions, in which he discussed his understanding of grace: that God gave us sovereign joy in Himself that triumphs over the joy of sin. At the time, a man named Pelagius argued that grace was not needed to make right decisions, that original sin didn’t exist, and that human beings were naturally good. Augustine decided to argue against Pelagius because the apologetics gave Augustine pleasure and kept him strong in his old age. Once he became a Christian, Augustine was known as a great defender of the faith, successfully arguing against the heresies of the Arians, Manicheans, Neo-Platonists, Donatists and Pelagians. Throughout his work, Augustine argued the co-existence of free will and predestination, the existence of original sin, and the purpose and presence of just war. As Augustine believed the key to Christian living is passion, desire, and hunger for God, he lived out the rest of his days in pursuit of God, dying in 430 AD.
October 23 Elder & Deacon Meeting 7 - 9pm October 24 Women’s Morning Bible Study 9:30 - 11am Women’s Evening Bible Study 7 - 8:30pm