September 2019

The Epistle - LPC Newsletter

September 2019


Diane R. Ford - April 2018

 

“Mama-Bear Advocate”

In July I declared on a Sunday morning that I am a “mama-bear advocate” for the gospel being shared by this congregation.  What would that look like, for you?  To be fiercely focused and in action about bringing the Good News of Christ to our community?  I often ask the question, “what is the Good News to you, and what about that is actually good news to you?”  Another way of putting it is, how would anyone know that you are tapped into the power, presence and grace of God?

For me, a large part of that is how I am “being” out there in the world.  Not so much what I am doing and not doing – though those are obviously a part of my walk with God. It is my “being” that people notice.  I have had conversations this summer with strangers on trains and planes – that I would have never had before.  I wasn’t telling them about Jesus Christ per se, but I was fully present with them, showing interest in them as people and sharing with them from my own life. And this, by the way, is a new skill I’ve gained (thank you, study leave classes!).  You all know, don’t you, that I am an introverted person with a very extraverted ministry?

Something I have been improving on in the past six months is the way I listen to people. Listening deeply enough to hear what is important to them, even beyond the words they use. I remain curious and ask questions to learn more.  And what happens in these conversations is I am blessed with discovering the unique humanity of the other person.  Part of the skill is to let silences happen; let people consider their response, rather than trying to answer for them, or giving them suggestions, as if the conversation is a multiple-choice questionnaire.

Another dimension of this kind of conversation is me sharing my own stories, choosing the ones that allows the other person to see my humanity. In other words, I choose stories that are about the deep stuff most people don’t talk about.  Like the way I used to interact with someone as I “walked on eggshells” around them, and how now I have changed my attitude about that. Who doesn’t deal with that kind of thing at some point in their lives? Yet we tend to not talk about them. Being vulnerable with people gives them permission to be the same with you.  It causes connectedness and brings people an understanding that they aren’t “the only ones.” Strangers have commented on me being “different” or “so kind” and one woman said, “I have never had this kind of conversation with a stranger before: I told you stuff only my sister.” My response is honest about that too: “I care deeply about people and this world. So I am learning to have conversations that really matter and make a difference with people.

This is what I’m learning: people long for connection, and we walk around at arm’s length from one another, thinking that disconnection is our only option.  As I’ve learned to be this way and have seen the people around me respond, I reflect on what kind of conversations Jesus had – the ones we know about and the ones we can only imagine.  God cuts to the chase – the time to love deeply is NOW; the time to share vulnerably so others can do the same is TODAY.  That is the “mama-bear” attitude about living as Christ’s agent in the world.  This fall, let’s explore this together. I am happy to share more with you – ask me. Hear the Good News: the presence, power and grace of Christ is living in and among us.

In Faith with You,
Diane

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Cog Food Drive

LPC is again planning to conduct a food drive for the benefit of the Community Outreach Group ( COG ) in Middletown. Like last year, we will provide bags for congregation members to obtain food donations. We will have the bags available for you to take following our worship service on September 8th, for you to give to friends and neighbors, and ask that they fill them with food and leave them in front of their homes by 3:00 PM Saturday Sept.l 14th.  You task will be collect their bags of donated food and bring them to church before 10:00 AM on Sunday morning, September 15th. Last year we collected 90 bags of food for COG.

Delicious Orchards has graciously donated 250 recyclable paper bags for us to use in liu of the plastic bags we previously used. Thank you Jill Humann for reaching out to Delicious Orchards.

This is a wonderful way to join with our friends and neighbors for a good cause and to provide an opportunity to make a difference locally.

Evangelism and Church Growth Committee

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Family Promise Cardboard Box City

Family Promise of Monmouth County Cardboard Box City 10 (CBC X) will take place on Saturday night, September 28, 2019.  This year’s event will take place on the grounds of our Day Center at 501 Malterer Avenue, Oceanport, NJ!

All youth are invited to participate and BRING FRIENDS!  This is a fun and very worthwhile community service project, especially if you get sponsors!  Adults are welcome to join the fun as well:  sleep out, donate, volunteer.

More details and/or to donate.

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CROP Walk – Save the Date

Each year LPC participates in the Red Bank CROP Walk, a 5 mile walk with hundreds of community members through Red Bank and Little Silver to help address hunger. This year’s walk is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, October 20th.

We will communicate more in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, please save the date. What could be more beneficial than to get great exercise while serving a good cause?

Evangelism and Church Growth Committee

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Family Promise Volunteer Co-Coordinator

Please consider helping to recruit future Family Promise volunteers for LPC’s hosting weeks.  We have been using SignUp, an online service. LPC’s next hosting weeks are September 8-15, 2019 and November 10-17, 2019.  This involves placing invitation blurbs in the Epistle and bulletins, managing the event’s volunteer spots via SignUp, interacting with support congregation coordinators, and sending emails to volunteers. This will lessen the recruiting burden on Kathy Noah, who coordinates just about everything during our hosting weeks.

A huge thank you to Judy Musa, who will manage the online sign up process!

Dave Reichard

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