December 2021

The Epistle - LPC Newsletter

December 2021


Diane R. Ford - April 2018

 

This article is a shortened version of a sermon from our stewardship season.  It is different, as it is focused on the ministry going on at LPC.  Specifically, the work of two groups: the Congregational Vitality Group (CVG) and Session. I hope you will read it deeply so you are aware of what LPC’s future will require of us.

Eight Facets of LPC for the Future

Churches used to be the sole source of socializing and entertainment in communities across our country.  This is obviously not the case today. Churches used to be the only ones who were feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and visiting the prisoner.  Praise God, there are many, many other organizations serving in these ways.  So, it is easy for the casual observer to think there is no need to participate in a church, since they get their socializing, entertainment, and opportunities to make a difference in the world in other settings.  Churches have made attempts to have better socializing, entertainment, and even better experiences of service.  But in the end, the church can’t compete in those areas.

With the rapid decline of congregations in the USA, the concern is high, BUT the Spirit is moving and new ways of being church are happening.  What will LPC’s new way look like?

Here are Eight Facets that LPC’s session and CVG are Engaging

  1. Revitalize the Spiritual Spark in us

If congregants don’t have a compelling story about their faith, and enthusiasm as a follower of Jesus, there is little chance that the congregation will grow spiritually or in numbers. What is it that sparks our faith and love of Christ? Engaging the 7-week study, “Testimony” in small groups was one way to address this topic. The 7th lesson was a reflection on how all of this can apply and inspire us as a congregation.  The next several months, our NomCom began to seek officers.

  1. Cultivate Joyful Leadership

After Nominating Committee gave their report, it was clear that there is a lack of ability, interest, or sense of call in leading LPC session elders.  This is a concern and needs to be addressed by the congregation as well as the current session.

  1. Follow God-Given Passion and Enthusiasm

In a sermon a few weeks ago I shared examples of my passions, asking the listeners to think of what they are enthusiastic and passionate about.  Perhaps there is a pattern here among us, and out of it will merge a direction for us in the near future.

  1. Evangelize

People used to go through confirmation at age 15, then drop out of church, get married at the age of 21 and once they start having kids, come back to church – just 7-8 years after they graduated from confirmation class.  Now, parents aren’t having children until they are 30 or older – that alone affects church size.  Plus, they are not returning to church after becoming parents.  The stay-at-home-moms of the 60’s who volunteered for the church don’t exist either.   These facts are a few reasons why the idea of simply “attracting” new congregants is a naïve notion.

You have heard of what is called the Nones and Dones.  When asked to check the box of which religion you are associated with, the greatest growing box checked is “none.”  And then you have those who used to be engaged in a faith community, but for any number of reasons don’t have any intention of going back to organized religion – they’re “done.”

The old model of “attracting new members” is so 1950’s.  Truly. We’ve been declining in church participation for that long, all the while trying to “attract” people.  If attracting doesn’t work, then what does? Here are three models that work:

A. Be a part of the fabric of our neighborhoods, towns and cities. – The church becomes a trusted member of the wider community – people notice what is different about us (due to our walk with Jesus), and we make a difference WITH them in the community.  We have joined with other faith communities to support COG, Family Project and Lunch Break answering needs of vulnerable people. The next level is knowing what’s going on in local agencies and politics –what are the goals of the mayor or school boards, and how can we be a part of those conversations and actions?  What organizations or local businesses line up with our values that we can support? There is interest in this congregation around Earth Care – do we want to engage deeply with an agency that is doing good work in this area?  These are ways the community comes to know who we are and what we are all about.

B. Evangelize with Words. In other words, being disciples of Jesus making disciples of Jesus who in turn make disciples of Jesus.  This is based on seeking out new close friendships to share who we are – specifically who we are due to who Christ is to us.  It involves talking about our own growth and journey of faith and asking our friend about theirs.  This is organic and takes time and practice.

C; Becoming New. In 2012 PCUSA committed to starting 1001 new worshiping communities by 2022. If you look at the stats, you see that the most effective evangelism tool is to start new communities of faith.  The PCUSA website says, “These new worshiping communities are the most strategic way to reach new generations, new residents, and new populations that established churches are not reaching.” Worshiping communities are defined by Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  These tend to be a gathering of people with some interest or subculture in common.  It could be cooking, learning languages, going on PDA trips, etc.

  1. Focus

Get clear on our purpose and focus for the next several months – and not stray from those.  The CVG is currently walking through a process to get very clear on “who we are currently,” and “what we are called to do” in our context.

  1. Finance Strategy

When church membership dwindles, so do financial resources, leading to making important decisions.  How do we serve God’s realm most faithfully, given our financial income and assets?

  1. Communication Strategy

This year session contracted with Mojjo, the marketing business made up of three partners, including our own Judy M. They are ready to rock once we know what God is calling us to be and do next.

  1. Emotional Conversations

Like every other church, LPC has concerns and we need to REINVENT ourselves.  Reinvention is what God is always doing, right? “Reformation” is the historical term for it. We all know that life is constantly changing for us.  And we have observed that with change – even happy changes – comes grief.  The new baby means I’m not the only child that gets my parent’s attention now.  The new job with better pay might mean I lose my convenient work hours and the coworkers I was fond of. So, expect to feel all kind of things in the upcoming months… excitement, promise, worry, fear, sadness, anger, gratitude, love, temptations to blame and shut down, inspiration to risk and step up!

Let us pray,
“God what do you want us to do, where do you want us to go? Send us.”

And as this assurance from Eph. 3:20
“The Lord is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.” Eph. 3:20

Pray for LPC’s session and the CVG as they continue to process these eight facets.  Speak with them, email them, text them about your visions of where God is leading. Those in the CVG are Patti, Joanne, Sarah, Frank, Bob, and Rob, with Pastor Diane.

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Are you, or someone you know feeling isolated?
Grieving at the loss of family and friends?
Anxious, confused, worried? Not feeling the ‘joy’ of the season?
You are not alone.

Even in the darkness of winter, find solace, peace, and hope:
Blue Christmas: A Service of Hope & Healing
featuring music, readings, candlelight

Blue Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 7:30 p.m.
Lincroft Presbyterian Church
270 Everett Road (corner, W. Front Street)
Lincroft, NJ 07738

In person or via Zoom link: http://lincroftpc.org

Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/TyUzrrSwwHE62doKA

All are welcome to our inclusive community where
love, hope, faith, compassion, and peace congregate.
http://.lincroftpc.org

Photo by Kacper Szczechla on Unsplash

Christmas tree

 

LPC Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 7:30 PM

 

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Hello Everyone,
Happy Fall!
Our Calico Cat Thrift Shop needs some volunteers!
Can you help?

We are open six days a week and have some positions that need to be filled! We need volunteers for the 4th Saturday, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you have some time in your schedule and would like to join a winning team please contact Judy Guarino at 732-319-9464 Cell or email her at j.guarino1@verizon.net.

Thank you all for your all your hard work and dedication!
Happy October Volunteer Appreciation Month!

Beverly Bova Scarano-President COG

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Worship Update

Sunday 10 AM services will continue to be synchronous on Zoom and in the sanctuary.

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CROP Walk

LPC raised $1,090 for the Crop Walk for Hunger in October of this year

CROP Walk 2021

See if you can you find our walkers Judy and Joe

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Earth Justice

Thank you,
Suzanne Novak
Staff Attorney,
Earthjustice, 50 California St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111


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Presbyterian Women

Presbyterian Women_2021-2022
What My Grandmother Taught Me

Lincroft Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Women

LPC Presbyterian Women
Women’s Bible Study Group

     The 2021-2022 Curriculum:

The Curriculum through May 2022:
     “What My Grandmother Taught Me
Learning from the Women in Matthew’s Genealogy of Jesus

from the Horizons Bible Study Program 2021-2022
Horizons is a magazine published for Presbyterian Women Groups

  • During this time of the corona virus we are meeting online using ZOOM technology. We welcome all new participants, including any non-LPC members. If you would like to attend – online using ZOOM – please call LPC’s office at 732-741-8921 with your name and email address, and joining instructions will be provided.

Schedule:

Lesson 4
Tuesday, January 25, 2022: Ruth and Loyal Love
– Ruth 1-2

Lesson 5
Tuesday, February 22, 2022: Ruth and Redemption
 
Ruth 3-4

Lesson 6
Tuesday, March 22, 2022: Bathsheba
 
2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Kings 1:11-31; 1 Kings 2:13-25

Lesson 7
Tuesday, April 26, 2022: Mary
 – 
Matthew 1:18-2:23

Lesson 8
Tuesday, May 24, 2022: Mary in the Faith and Tradition of the Church
 – 
Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-52; John 2:5, 19:25-27

Lesson 9
Tuesday, June 28, 2022: What are These Women Doing in a Place Like This?
 – 
Matthew 1

 ——-

Meetings during the pandemic are at LPC via Zoom technology – 11:00 am …
Newcomers are of course welcome

call 732-741-8921 for further information

About Presbyterian Women

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