The next few weeks we will be looking at God’s Wisdom, the importance of seeking wisdom, and how it can be applied to our daily lives.
January 14 God’s Unique Wisdom; Psalm 111, Isaiah 55:8-9
January 21 Wisdom (Sophia in Greek) calls us from the streets to guide our lives Proverbs 1:20-32, 8:22-31
January 28 Trust and Lean In Proverbs 3:5-8
February 4 (Communion) As We Seek, We Find Psalm 119:145-152
February 11 Transfiguration Sunday: The Old Testament Link Mark 9:2-9
Lent Begins Ash Wednesday February 14
February 18 Treasuries Filled! Proverbs 8:1-20
February 25 Unity of Truth John 8:12-36
March 4 Communion: Wisdom Alive at the Table of Grace
As has been our custom, the Ash Wednesday service will be at 7 pm at the Lutheran Church.
Lenten Soup Suppers
Soon the time of Lent will be upon us and the talk of soup suppers will be in the forefront of people’s minds. So what are the soup suppers, you ask?
Well, they are a tradition that started long before I was attending our church sometime in the 1980’s I think. The Catholics, Lutherans, and UCC members must have put their heads together to think of a way that they could share fellowship during the time of Lent. I am sure that the subject of food came up and most likely it was first mentioned by a member of our church as one of our mottos is “Until We Eat Again”. The tradition was started.
There are 6 weeks in the time of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Each church selects two Wednesdays in those weeks to host the soup supper at their church. Most often the Lutheran Church hosts the first two, the Catholic Church the middle two, and the UCC church the last two. It just seems to work the best this way.
So you ask, what happens on a Soup Supper Wednesday? The host church prepares different kinds of soup to serve. Rolls are served with the soup. Cookies are served for dessert. The meal starts at 5:30 pm but it is a good idea to come early, the doors are open by 5 pm. This gives you time to find a seat and visit with your friends from each of the churches. A short service follows the meal starting at 6:30 pm. Each church selects where the offering that is taken during their services goes. For instance, the UCC has collected funds for the heifer project during their soup suppers. The Pastors of the churches get together and come up with a theme for the services during soup suppers. One year the theme was to pick a favorite hymn and give a message relating to that hymn. The choir members of each church practice together after the service and sing an anthem during the two services at the UCC church. So if you like to sing, you are welcome to join in.
If you haven’t ever attended a soup supper service, I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with people from the other churches that you might only see during the time of Lent. The two hours spent together each Wednesday is a wonderful time of fellowship, sharing, and reflection on the significance of this time in our church year. The soups are always wonderful and each church serves their own favorite soups. There is always chicken noodle but the others aren’t the same, there is a good variety to warm your stomach and your soul.
If you would like to help and/or learn more about soup suppers, please contact me and I will be happy to answer any questions.
The first soup supper for this year will be February 21st and it will be at the Lutheran church. Please come.
At Newport UCC, we are trying to provide more opportunities that make it easy for someone new to check out our church and make friends in our congregation. Why not invite someone to worship, to Bible Study, or to other events (like Pinochle to be rescheduled) May our doors be easily opened to the people God wants to bring into our fellowship!
Continuing Bible Study:
Thursdays, 10 a.m. “Book of Ruth” led by Pat Billingsley Resumes January 4.
New Bible Study:
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. “The Not-So-Minor Prophets” led by Pastor Becky.
Begins Jan. 9 with a movie about the Prophets and then we will look weekly at one of the 12 Old Testament prophets (whose books all fit on one scroll=minor prophets) and their messages for today.
Newcomers are always welcome at both!
We have “kept” Christmas as it was described in times past. Could it be that “keeping” Christmas isn’t what God wants us to do? Instead, let us take some images from Christmas into our new year as guidance for faithful discipleship.
- As we gave and received gifts, we have a priceless gift to share: our own experience of the love of Jesus, offered humbly to others we meet.
- As the lights twinkled on tree and porch, we are called to be the light in the darkness, to bring grace and mercy and peace all along our journey of daily living. Someone you know needs hope; reach out and bring light.
- As the evergreens symbolize eternal life, again may we claim the truth of the Messiah who brings life abundant and live what we believe joyfully.
- As we gazed on the figures of the nativity, like the shepherds and wise men, we come to meet Jesus, and then we go back to our lives well beyond Bethlehem. It is our choice whether we allow Jesus to continue be the center of our gaze, our allegiance, our decision-making or whether we pack him away until next December.
The Promised One has come, with light and life, fulfilling God’s promises to humankind and with Jesus, the Kingdom of God has broken into a world which has become distant and disconnected with its Creator. For unto us is born a Savior, Christ the Lord!
This newsletter spans two seasons of the church year: Epiphany and Lent. They are quite different in focus. Epiphany celebrates the coming, the revealing of the Messiah whose birth is celebrated at Christmas. The traditional color for Epiphany is white and light is the theme: the light of the world, Jesus Christ, has come among us! As He is the light, we are called to be the light into the world, our light drawing others to Christ’s light.
Lent, on the other hand, is a season of introspection and reflection. The color is purple, both for the King, and for suffering. It begins on February 14, and we will join our friends at American Lutheran Church for the Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. that night. Ash Wednesday begins Lent, and focuses on our own desire to repent and be forgiven for our sins. Lent pushes us to look at the cross, Jesus’ passion and death, that we might be more fully prepared to celebrate the truth of the resurrection on Easter (April 1 this year).
Through the weeks of Lent we will join in the traditional Lenten Soup Suppers, first at the American Lutheran Church on Feb. 21 and 28, then St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, March 7 and 14, and then to our own church March 21 and 28. Dinner at 5:30, worship at 6:30 pm.
God bless you and keep you, Pastor Becky
I have served as Interim Moderator for three months. At the beginning of each council meeting I have lead an opening activity to challenge us to continue growing as the governing body of our church. As we prepare our hearts and minds for the Annual Meeting, I want to share about these activities.
In October, we did an exercise to help us recognize our attitudes and resistance to change. We experienced that we usually see change as taking something away. The challenge is to recognize that change can also add something to our experience.
In November, we explored the importance of knowing each other. Psalm 139 states “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” Being known is our greatest desire and our biggest fear. Knowing each other changes us and allows us to work together in new ways.
In December, we focused on the questions we ask ourselves as we discern issues. I presented 3 guiding questions. The first question to ask when we are evaluating decisions is: Are we focused on the purpose/mission of our church? I have included the purpose from our Constitution at the top of the agenda for our Annual Meeting. The second question is: Are we asking “outward” questions? Inward questions focus on how an issue impacts me. Outward questions focus on the impact on others and our outreach. Lastly, we ask: Are our responses helping to move the process forward in a unifying way?
My hope is that these points help us build and grow as a Christian community of love and respect.
God’s grace is present in all we do.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
I give thanks to God and to all of you for calling me as your pastor! I truly believe that our partnership was God’s plan. It is a great joy and blessing to me to serve a congregation with a vision for local mission, servant hearts, a desire to continually grow spiritually, and passion for hospitality.
We have been through much together this year. We have said farewell to many loved ones, trusting in God’s eternal care. Many traditions continued, including the amazing Lenten Soup Suppers, Summer garage sale and December crafts and bake sale, and the warmth of the Advent season culminating with the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. There have been some new events: hosting the BikeUS for MS team, providing for the Blue Christmas service, and “dipping our feet into the water” with the beginnings of a community children’s ministry. Thank you for trusting new ideas and supporting me in my ministry.
It is clear that you care for one another and the community! Increased personal connection with local ministry is bearing fruit. We now have a new email newsletter ministry to our snow birds to help them stay connected. Weekly worship at River Mountain and Long Term Care have grown congregations there and reached beyond those of our church family who live there to include many residents and staff. A new email prayer chain will soon be joined by a phone prayer chain for those who do not use internet—all demonstrate our commitment and connectedness to bearing one another’s burdens and sharing mutual joys.
Worship is a key place where people can check us out. Newport UCC folks are right there, not just “friendly” or “welcoming” but embracing them! I watch you in action and appreciate greatly your genuine caring for all types of people who come through our doors, and willingness to sacrifice your favorite seat in the sanctuary or fellowship hall, and your time to chat with friends, to be with those who have come. And the energy you bring to worship. . . the refreshments…. the music from Chris and Don and the choir and soloists…the readiness of greeters at the front door and sanctuary doors…all go together to show others what the community of Christ looks like.
God has amazing plans for us together in 2018 and beyond. I believe we will experience slow and steady growth as we are joined by others on their journey of faith. We will all be stretched with their new ideas and gifts, and challenged to support and meet needs of a wider age-span. Our mission will continue to grow locally and globally. There will be new opportunities for lifetime learners. What an exciting time for us!
May we indeed “seek God with all our hearts” for God’s wisdom and ways to be made known to us. God bless you and yours in 2018!
Pastor Becky Anderson
Our committee meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm.
The Diaconate committee is responsible for the different parts of our worship service. We and the Pastor work out the details for a service as needed. We prepare and serve communion once a month. We are the committee that finds the lay readers for Sunday service. We attend to the altar, maintaining the candles and changing the altar cloth, according to the church’s liturgical calendar. Members are invited to bring fresh flowers for the altar whenever they wish to do so in someone’s memory or to commemorate a special occasion. Otherwise a silk flower arrangement will be on the altar.
We are the committee that asks members of the congregation to be greeters, to be aware of new members and welcome them as they arrive, and invite them to stay for coffee hour. We ask members to sign up for coffee hour, providing the coffee and snacks that the membership enjoys as they partake in fellowship after service. We appreciate everyone who signs up to host a coffee hour. If you are interested in doing a coffee hour and haven’t done it before, any member of the committee will be glad to help you or answer any questions that you may have.
The Lenten soup suppers continue to be an important part of our church year. We look forward to the services we share with our Lutheran, Catholic, and Mennonite friends. The Diaconate committee is responsible for selecting and the preparation of the soup when it is our turn to host the soup suppers. We also are responsible for finding the servers, helpers, and cookie makers. If you have a favorite soup recipe that will serve many people, we are always looking for new ideas.
Whenever our Pastor is going to be away, we are responsible for finding coverage, whether it is a visiting Pastor or someone from our congregation. We also are responsible for finding people to play the organ and/or piano during the summer while Don and Chris take their break. If you know of anyone who plays the piano and/or organ and might be interested in playing a few Sundays during the summer, please let us know.
Diaconate is a busy committee with many tasks to perform for the life of this church. Our goal is to make the experience of Sunday morning worship a positive one so that anyone who comes through our doors wants to come back. Thank you to the committee members for working well together to make our tasks easy ones to complete. Thank you also to everyone in the congregation who says yes when asked to greet, host coffee hour, help with communion, fill in at the pulpit, play summer music, and help with soup suppers. Many helpers make the work load a light one.
We welcome new members to our committee at any time, including men. If you are interested in helping make our church a welcoming one or have questions, please let me know.
The Journey to Generosity Continues
Our Fall pledge drive theme was “Journey to Generosity: the Way of Jesus”. We were encouraged as a congregation to focus on what it means to give generously. We were reminded that as God has blessed us, we are called by faith and by Jesus’ example to bless others. We are grateful to those who responded with 40 pledges totaling $91,030 as of December 31st.
As the Journey to Generosity continues into 2018, watch for Stewardship thoughts in the Chimes and monthly on the third Sunday at church. We will connect our giving to our church mission and explore stewardship as a spiritual practice. Stewardship is so much more than “fund raising” to meet a budget.
Called to Care
We meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. In our discussions we bring up prayer concerns for our church members, their families, and friends. There are visits made, along with cards being sent, and phone calls to let these individuals know they are in our thoughts and prayers.
Spring clean up went well, had a fair turnout.
Men’s yard sale did well, good hot dogs.
We have purchased a defibulater, and installed it thanks to Ann and Mike Wenger.
We did some concrete patching out back in late fall.
Fall cleanup went well, not very many people showed for this event.
Small crew installed Christmas lights on the outside of the building.
Looking forward to a great new year.
The Missions Committee was very active this year in raising funds for various local agencies as well as Shoeboxes, the Heifer Project, and Freedom Carts.
Our fund-raising activities included the Potato Bake, Ice Cream Social, Secret Raffles, Turkey Dinner, special Coffee Hours, Pie Luck, Christmas Jar, and a couple of direct donations. The fund disbursements of $2386.00 went to Newport Food Bank, West Bonner County Food Bank, Rural Resources, Family Crisis Network, Youth Emergency Services, and Freedom Carts. In addition, the KIVA Fund donated about $2400 to needy entrepreneurs around the world, the Heifer Project collected $1376.60, and we contributed 32 shoeboxes to the Samaritan’s Purse Ministry. We also added support for the Pend Oreille River Alternative High School, a Little Red Wagon for monthly food collections, and collections for toiletries and winter clothing.
To make our community giving more efficient, we host a semi-annual meeting with all the local agencies, so we can coordinate the needs and capabilities of each organization. This helps each agency express their needs and understand the needs of others.
Once again, we wish to thank all the generous hearts that make our Mission work possible.
We meet as needed throughout the year, meeting on Sundays after church service. Donations given in honor of those who have passed on are used for purchases for items needed within our church and outside surrounding area. Names of those passing away are recorded. Individual name plates are ordered and placed on our memorial plaque board located in the church sanctuary. We thank those individuals who have given memorial donations to our church.
The Chimes, our church newsletter, is published the last week of each month, except June and July, and December. Articles may be emailed to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org. George does the paper work that the post office requires. The crew who puts the Chimes together and has a good time doing it.
We mail about 205 Chimes to 13 states. Currently we are sending the Chimes by email to a couple of people that the post office can’t keep track of.
I edit and print the bulletins, the Chimes, and any other materials that the church needs. As well, I have been able to help various committees with materials they need and continue to refine templates for documents and files that we are using, making ongoing work more efficient and accessible. I also keep the outdoor sign updated. Ongoing and future projects include the website, church history, and various other projects that pop up to meet the needs of the church and assisting various groups.
Faith and Dee have been sending out printed church services to people unable to attend church. Faith has been transcribing tapes of the church services and sending e-mails to people on vacation.
The sermons and sections of the current Chimes are also available on the church website, www.newportucc.org. Anyone interested in getting an e-mail of the church service may call the church office at 447-4121.
2017 was a busy and productive year for Women’s Fellowship. We again had a successful yard sale in June with the trustees again cooking hot dogs and serving them with all the condiments, chips, and drinks. They also had their own sale items outside. It is continuing to be a great event as we work well together and the sales help both groups. Our Holiday Gift and Bake sale turned out to be the best ever we think. We sold more lunches this year. The raffle baskets were a hit once again adding to monies that we brought in.
This year our spring luncheon had a lighthouse/cruise theme and the ladies from all our neighboring churches were invited. We each received a “passport” with our picture in it as we boarded the ship for our gathering. It was a good time “sailing the seas” with Captain Becky.
We hosted the coffee hour for Easter Sunday brunch, and Father’s Day along with funeral and wedding receptions. Our group is responsible for keeping the kitchen well stocked with any supplies that are needed throughout the year. We were able to buy the kitchen a much needed new refrigerator this spring. It is a commercial one with lots of room and will come in so handy for soup suppers and other events.
One of the parts of our meeting each month is to have a program with a guest speaker. Some of the highlights of the year were Denise Stewart, Atty at Law, who spoke to us about elder care and how to prepare for the future. We got to travel around Australia through the eyes of Muriel Oakes. We learned about the medical missionary program that Drs. Aaron and Stacy Zebriskie are a part of at the Karanda Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe. We always have a potluck meeting at Maxine Pitts’s home in June before we take the summer off from meetings.
We meet on the second Friday of each month, September through June at 12:00 noon for lunch, fellowship, program, and business. All the women of the church are invited as well as your friends.
The Women’s Fellowship ladies are sitting back and relaxing after a busy but very successful Holiday Gift and Bake Sale. We think it is the best ever. Thanks to all of the ladies who chaired different parts of the event and helped set up the event. Thanks to the ladies who went to the businesses to put up flyers and ask for donations for the raffle baskets, then put the raffle baskets together. Thanks to the ladies who made the food for the luncheon part of the event. We work well together.
We will be meeting this Friday the 12th. Pastor Becky has the program. Micki and Chris are the hostesses. I am sure we will finalize the Holiday Gift and Bake sale and take care of any other business that we need to take care of. In February we will meet on the 9th. Faith and Pastor Becky will have the program and will be talking about the history of the Newport UCC. Carlie and Pat will be our hostesses.
The Women’s Fellowship group meets the second Friday of every month at noon at the church. Lunch is served and we usually have a program, followed by a business meeting. All of the ladies of the church and their friends are invited to attend.
Max Goes to Africa
Sunday, Jan. 21 after worship we will celebrate our own author, Ruth Calkins, who will be selling and signing her new book, Max Goes to Africa ($24). Max is Ruth’s dog and the inspiration for the setting came from Ruth’s work in Africa. 25% of all the proceeds will go to missions.
Diaconate Committee News
Happy New Year to everyone!
Thank you to everyone who helped put up the decorations at the end of November and then to everyone who helped take them down on Sunday, the 7th. It is a big job but with many hands the work is light.
As always, please look at the sign up boards to see if we need coffee hour signups, greeters, or lay readers. It is nice to look at the boards and see the lines filled so that I don’t have to keep nagging people to sign up.
Now that the Christmas season is over, the Lent/Easter season will be fast approaching. Ash Wednesday is February 14th. That means soup suppers start the next Wednesday. The Lutheran church is hosting the first two, on February 21st and 28th. The Catholic church will host the next two, March 7th and 14th. We host the last two, March 21st and 28th. At our Diaconate meeting in February we will decide on the soups for our Wednesdays. If you have a favorite recipe that you think would be good for soup suppers, please let me know. We are always looking for new ideas. After we decide what soups we will be serving the signup sheets will be in the fellowship hall on Sunday, February 18th.
Maundy Thursday will be at our church on Thursday, March 29th, Good Friday will be at the Lutheran church on Friday, March 30th and Easter is April 1st.
Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 7th at 5:30 pm. You are welcome to attend to see what Diaconate is all about. We would love to have some new members.
Mike & Sandee Meade celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 27th. Their children Heather and Daniel purchased a new cordless microphone for the church. This microphone is a wonderful addition, especially when we want to mic solos in the choir. Thank you to the Meades.
New Member Gathering
If you would like to explore membership in Newport United Church of Christ, or just want to know more about our denomination, please sign up with Pastor Becky for the next gathering (not really a class, more of a whirlwind tour of United Church of Christ!) She will work with those interested to set the date for a soup and bread dinner and gathering.
You can be part of our church’s email prayer chain. Send an email to Pastor Becky at email@example.com and request to be included. This is a powerful ministry in our church and community! We will also be setting up a phone prayer chain soon, call the church office 447-4121 to be included.
Thank you thank you generous hearts!
We gave away all our money!
Our Church received lovely notes from Family Crisis Network, Rural Resources and YES thanking you all so much for your help at this time of year. The Notes are on our Fellowship Hall Bulletin Board.
Thank you all so much for your contributions to our “Little Red Wagon.” Not only do your generous donations of food items help our two food banks, but they provided for a young Father needing food for his two young children.
We no longer give dollar help from our door, but our Little Red Wagon actually became our Church Food Bank one Sunday morning!
Thank you so much for keeping it filled!
You also might want to keep in mind that our Family Crisis Network can use food items providing for people that they put in a motel overnight, and the homeless. These people might not have access to a stove refrigerator or microwave or even water so food that is “instant” is perfect (tuna and crackers, cheese and crackers, cup of soups, peanut butter and jam etc.)
Missions will provide a coffee hour on February 18 with basket donations going into our Fund.
Holy Moly Guacamole!! Roli Poli Casseroli! Who Knows? Stay Tuned!
The Blood Bank will be here February 15th. Thanks to Marty and his crew. They have done a great job putting up flyers and doing all the jobs they do to make the blood drive a success.
Did you know. . .
Our church has a lending library, both fiction and non-fiction, in the basement of the church with lots of good reading for long winter nights! Follow the signs to the Sunday School area, take what you want, bring in what you wish to share. Thanks to Ann who is keeping this area fresh!
We also have a church library in the Fireside Room near the church offices. There is a variety of devotional, study and other materials for all ages that may be checked out.
We are in the process of creating a new photo directory. Alice is taking the pictures and working with Chris to put the directory together. We have most of the information, but do need candid pictures, and some dedicated time to work on it. If you haven’t had your picture taken or have new information for us, please let Chris or Alice know.
Men, don’t forget to attend a no-host breakfast at 7:15 am Tuesday, February 6 at the Riverbank restaurant. All are welcome.
This month we have extended loans to individuals and families in Africa, Central Asia, SE Asia, South America and the South Pacific regions.
Lason is a 32 year- old married man who runs a school for 197 students in Wazirabad, Pakistan. This low-cost private school has been operated by Lason with the goals of raising well educated and responsible persons of integrity. He needs funds for whitewash for the walls, chairs and desks for the students
Fatu is a 30 year-old married woman with two children of school age, living in Tombo, Sierra Leone. She has been operating a convenience store for 6 years and wishes to purchase assorted drinks and pure water to sell to her customers, Her desire is to expand her business and improve her standard of living for her family.
Flor Maria is a 31 year-old married woman with two children ages 2 and 11 living in Porto Viejo, Ecuador. She operates a small home-based beauty business and her husband owns an upholstery business. She needs funding to buy cosmetics for her business and faux leather, sponges, glue and thread for the upholstery business. The products purchased will improve the standard of living for her family.
Isidro is a 35 year-old family man with two children . Aside from growing livestock for his family’s consumption he is an organic coffee farmer in the hilly countryside and needs the loan to purchase fertilizers, and tools to weed and prune his plants. The loan, with his effort, will allow him to increase production of coffee and improve the standard of living for his family.
Phuong is a 27 year-old married woman living in Hoang Than, Vietnam. She wishes to use the loan money to improve the sanitation of her household by purchasing cement, bricks and equipment to build a toilet in her rural house.
Fautino is a mother of four children living in Malie, Samoa. She operates a convenience store and needs a loan to purchase a freezer, a box of chicken, cans of tuna, sacks of rice and other items to build up her inventory and expand her business.
Gulzhamal is a woman living with her family in the Nooken district of the Jalalabat region of Kyrgyzstan. She lives in a rural community and raises horses and has a greenhouse. She wishes a loan to buy plant seeds and fertilizer to expand her greenhouse business. Profits will be used to reinvest in her business.
Teresita is a 57 year-old mother of six children living with her husband in Ivisan, Capiz, Philippines. She and her family have run a pig business for 16 years and wish to buy additional piglets and feed to expand her commercial operations. Proceeds will be used to benefit her family and the business.
That’s all for this issue!