September 2021

The Epistle - LPC Newsletter

September 2021


Diane R. Ford - April 2018

Every month should be Mental Health Awareness month.  And, actually, it is!  There is a different aspect of our mental health emphasized each month. September has a double emphasis: National Recovery Month, bringing awareness to the journey of recovery from addictions — which, of course, include substances as well as behavioral addictions.  The other emphasis for September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  The statistics on suicide have grown alarmingly, with teens and adults being off the charts compared to generations before them.

Visit an online art exhibit that runs all month long, on the theme “Recovery Happens” –  https://rm.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/event/recovery-happens-2021-art-show/

One way to bring the love of God to one another is to know how to communicate with one another when we sense changes in behavior or moods. Have you seen the commercial with the two teenagers sitting on a couch, and the first one says, “You haven’t been like yourself lately,” and invites her friend to talk about it.  It is an awkward moment, and that’s the point — to “seize the awkward” moment to make a difference in the lives of one another.  You may find more interesting and helpful information about that at –  https://seizetheawkward.org/

In all the literature, articles and TedTalks on mental health, three things rise to the top:

1) We must stop putting mental health in a category of stigma and shame.
2) You’re not alone. Every human has mental health and the vast majority of us will have had some kind of mental health crisis by the age of 75.
3) We need more people to be trained in responding to mental health crises — within our families and within our communities.

Mental Health Awareness

genuine OR toxic

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MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE

Hi, I am Jack Irwin to tell you about a Bible course I will teach for Lincroft Presbyterian Church.. My brother Doug is a member of Lincroft Presbyterian Church.  The course I have prepared is titled “Mysteries of the Bible,” and I have taught this at my church in California several times.  Pastor Diane Ford and Session have invited me to teach this at LPC. 

Many of us find the Bible full of mysteries, and some of us wonder, how do the 66 books in the Bible fit together?  You will learn the theme that ties the Bible together into one story. We journey from the first book Genesis to the last book Revelation to explore what God is doing to rescue humanity from the mess we find ourselves in.  We will explore key passages in the Old Testament and the New Testament to learn how these two parts of the Bible are tied together to tell the one story of salvation and also how God through Jesus invites us to participate in this rescue project. 

The course of five Sunday evening sessions will start on Sept. 19th at 7 pm on Zoom. The class is limited to 15 for plenty of class interaction.   Contact Doug Irwin for more information and to sign up.

May the peace of Christ be with you,
Jack Irwin

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LPC September Start-Up Dates and Times

Choir Rehearsals            Wed., Sept. 8        7:30 pm

Communion Sunday      Sun., Sept. 5         10 am

Mysteries of the Bible   Sun., Sept. 19       7 pm

Men’s Group                  Mon., Sept. 20      7:30 pm

Women’s Book Club     Tues., Sept. 21      7:30 pm

Women’s Bible Study   Tues., Sept 28       11 am  

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FINAL FOUR GROUPS COMPLETE
“TESTIMONY: VOCABULARY OF FAITH”

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What people said about “Testimony”:

Who is God was so special to me as I reread the scriptures in the Psalms 27 and 145 explaining God’s compassion and presence in each phase of my life.  He has always been there for me.  I could not have gotten through without him.  Also, the chapter on Love has special meaning to me in Mark 12: 28-34 to love God with all your heart, soul, understanding and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  We should never forget that God knows and sees all and is forever with each and every one of us.

Testimony: Vocabulary of Faith has been a great experience.  I am more comfortable discussing my faith with others.  Also, sharing personal stories and views with other group members helped me learn more about them and our deeper Christian beliefs.

Testimony was a study in exploring our faith that had direct questions concerning God’s role in different aspects of our lives and asked for direct answers. Upon examination it helped bring to light and enhance beliefs – including questions.  It was a sharing experience of ideas, beliefs and questions as we talked with others about their views and interpretation of their faith, which is something not often done on this level.  These discussions influenced my thoughts also.  Who is God?   To me–God is a spiritual entity who has a role in all aspects of our lives—personal commitments (His and ours)–our  actions and our communal lives.  This study has stimulated much thought. Thank you for the opportunity. 

Testimony reminded me, in every lesson, of the six churches I was part of in my life, from birth until now.  Each church was a community that taught God’s love and encouraged me to show that love to all God’s creation- people all over the world, other animals, plants, and God’s entire creation.  Each church taught God’s word and reminded me of the responsibility to use my talents to show God’s love. 

The Testimony Class reminded me to love and pray for my enemies and that I had to learn to hand over a related, major project I was involved in TOTALLY into God’s hands no matter the timing and no matter the outcome. The timing was perfect because it had calmed my mental sanity and, in constant prayer, my serenity was restored.       

Testimony’s focus on Jesus’ Teachings about Christian Community Involvement was special to me.  Jesus wanted the small children to come to him and learn from him about God and his teachings and not be left out.  He gathered disciples around him to spread the word to the people of the world that they might open peoples’ minds to the power of the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus’ teachings spread throughout the world, enabling many people to follow him.

Testimony’s lesson on Christian Community really spoke to me.  It reminded me that the Beatle’s song “All You Need is Love” is the embodiment of the Christian community.

The testimony series has really helped me, particularly during this very strange, uncertain time because it was equally strange when we read Scripture and look anew at Jesus and his disciples 2000 years ago.
Importantly, Testimony’s lessons gave me an additional connection to my Christian community.  As messy as our world is, we all are learning to walk with Jesus, trying to find common ground with those who are “other” and be a friend, even to those whom we find difficult to love. It’s those universal messages of forgiveness, acceptance and grace that has carried us through the ages, so we can continue to build his Kin-dom here and now.

For me, our Testimony group came together at a time I needed it most.  I lost my mom, and I felt needed an outlet to make me feel closer to God. I needed some sort of sign that I wasn’t alone. These women became my outlet. I could cry just thinking about it. During our meetings, there was no judgment- no pressure – only love. My favorite takeaway has been this ongoing, underlying theme which was the simple gesture of kindness and love—and if we take the time (even if it’s 5 minutes) to devote ourselves to something bigger than all of us with truth and love and good intention, goodness will come from it, because we let God in.

Testimony group was especially important for the fellowship, in light of the isolation of the last year and a half.  As we shared our thoughts and reactions to scriptures, the presence of the Holy Spirit was very strong, and we were together in that presence.  There are so many things to think about and address as we begin a transition back into a time of more togetherness.  Keeping Christ in the center and reflecting on how we can share his light in a wounded world can help lead to a new sense of hope.  I treasured the chance to be with such a fine group of people!

”O give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!”
– 1 chronicles 16:8

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Come Sing With Us

LPC Choir

Making a joyful noise to the Lord is a great way to connect and be restored!  Choir Rehearsals for the new season begin Wednesday, September 8, 7:30 PM. Please RSVP and/or bring your questions to our tech-savy-choir-director-who-runs-truly-joyful-rehearsals, Mike Kabash. Haven’t sung in a choir in a while, but you’ve done it and loved it in the past? Come join us – put your toes in the water, no strings attached.

Worship and Music

Mike-Kabash
Mike-Kabash

Session has a Plan A for worship this fall, and that is to have our music director Mike Kabash return to the sanctuary after Labor Day!  Of course, we will watch to see how the Delta variant and human behavior will impact our ability to gather in person.  Online worship will continue as an option for those who are uncomfortable or unable to gather in person.

 

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Caring during COVID

Updated August 3, 2021

Based on the latest science, and to do our best to protect people from COVID, Session (the board of elders) has put in place the following protocols until further notice:

Masks are required for everyone in the building.

Hand Sanitizer is provided and advised. 

There are no health questionnaires, but we do need contact information in case we need to notify you of a Covid outbreak. We keep attendance for this purpose also.

No holding hands or sharing microphones during services.

No eating or drinking inside the building.

The kitchen and offices are closed, except for staff.

We will continue to use the blue upholstered chairs, though metal chairs are available if someone prefers. Please note: between services on Sundays, the sanctuary is thoroughly aired out but not sanitized professionally.

“Do not be grieved, for the Joy of the Lord is our strength!”  (Neh. 8:11)

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Your “Post-COVID” Spiritual Renewal

Reflect

Practice: Reflect. What did you experience during the past 15 months and how were you changed from it?

Scripture:  “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” Psalm 91:4-6

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Family Promise - May 2017

 

“Miracle Donation from the legacy Monmouth Presbytery”

The sale price from the First Presbyterian Church of Long Branch was $1.5 million, so the presbytery took 10% off the top and split it among four groups. 

The donations were as follows:

  • Family Promise: $40,000
  • Fulfill (formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties): $40,000
  • Habitat for Humanity: $40,000
  • Presbyterian Mission Agency: $30,000

The following is a letter from Family Promise about how the donation impacted them.

Covid-19 worsened the homeless crisis for Monmouth County families and our agency saw almost a 50% increase in the request for Emergency Shelter and essential services.

Closures and quarantines related to the pandemic immediately stopped our ability to serve homeless families in the church rotational model and we were forced to move to sheltering families in motels. Providing emergency shelter in this way caused our operational cost to skyrocket and the agency needed to quickly respond to the growing needs.

In the spring when we had a growing waitlist a miracle donation from the Monmouth Presbytery was presented to our team. This donation provided the support our small agency needed to continue to serve and leverage our ability to access additional grant funds.  It not only stabilized FPMC it also allowed us to serve double the number of homeless families in Monmouth County. The impact of the presbytery’s $40,000 donation has been transformative and more than FPMC could have ever imagined.

“The impact of the presbytery’s $40,000 donation has been transformative and more than we could have ever imagined.” 

We have just applied for a county grant which we hope will allow us to meet the growing needs and higher emergency shelter costs as we work with our partners to develop better ways to meet the emergency housing crisis. We are able to use the monies donated by Monmouth Presbytery as a match for this grant finding.

We currently are serving 8 families representing 30 individuals in a shelter model using local efficiency motels with continued support in our day center. This year we expect to provide 11,680 individual bed nights to up to 32 different families. We remain committed to working collaboratively with all of our supporters to assist homeless families and those families at risk of homelessness find shelter and ultimately be supported to self-reliance in affordable permanent housing. 

With our most sincere gratitude,

The Board of Directors, Staff and Families of Family Promise of Monmouth County

  • Family Promise of Monmouth County (FPMC) has been operating for 20 years in Monmouth County working tirelessly to serve the homeless families and children of our county.  The organization has been blessed with unwavering support from our church partners, charitable foundations, private donors and public grants. This support has allowed the agency to serve 4 families and up to 14 individuals in a church rotational model for many years. In addition to shelter we’ve been able to offer vital transportation, life skills, case management and other essential services. We’ve worked along with our partners, congregations and National Family Promise to advocate and improve services to families in crisis. 

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Crab Meat Strata – Supreme (by popular demand)
Recipe by Liz Sturges

1 Can Crab Meat – Drained & Flaked
1 Can Shrimp – Small – Drain
1 Can Chopped Mushrooms
½ C. Chopped Celery
¼ C. Chopped Onion
¾ C. Mayonnaise
1 Jar Pimientos
12 Slices White Bread – Buttered Both Sides – I used Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Bread
1 lb. Swiss Cheese – Grated
5 Eggs
3 C. Milk – Pinch of Cayenne, Salt & Pepper

Mix Crab Meat, Shrimp, Celery, Onions & Mushrooms together
Blend in Mayo
Spread ½ the bread in greased 3 quart baking dish
Put half the Pimientos on bread, then half of the Crab Meat and 1/3 of Cheese
Repeat with Crab, Pimientos & 1/3 of cheese
Cover the bread & 1/3 cheese
Beat eggs, milk, seasonings & pour over all
Let stand 1 hour
Sprinkle with Paprika
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

Crab Meat Strata

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Men’s Group

LPC’s Men’s Group will begin to meet again in September. Our first meeting is scheduled for 7:30 PM on September 20th.  At our meeting, we can decide whether the third Monday evening of the month will be convenient for group members again this year and how we want to structure our discussions, using the Wired Word again or adopt another approach. 

New participants are welcome. 

To receive your monthly reading material for our September meeting, please contact Frank Munn or the church office.

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