In Memoriam — Dr. John L. Hamer

Posted January 18th, 2019

Dr. John L. Hamer, 95, former Nigeria mission worker, died on January 15, 2019, at Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Indiana.

A physician and an ordained minister, Dr. Hamer and his wife, Esther, worked in a hospital in Lassa, Nigeria from 1953-1969. Following the illness and subsequent death of a nurse co-worker at the hospital, John’s insistence that further testing be conducted led to the discovery of the deadly viral disease Lassa Fever.

Service arrangements are pending.

A full obituary is posted at https://www.mckeemortuary.com/notices/John-Hamer .

Nancy Miner

Office of the General Secretary

Church of the Brethren

800-323-8039, ext. 301

nminer@brethren.org

Joys of the Congregation

Posted January 4th, 2019

Congratulations to Kerrick and Anna (Lindholm) van Asselt who were married on Saturday, December 28, at First United Methodist Church, McPherson.

Information for the congregation for Sunday, December 30, 2018

Posted December 28th, 2018

First Fridays: McPherson College at The Cedars — This is a free educational series of classes that are open to all ages. On Friday, January 4, at 3 p.m., Dr. Allan van Asselt will present “Astronomy.” For information, contact Kendra Flory (floryk@mcpherson.edu or 620.242.0432).

Information for the Congregation for Sunday, December 23, 2018

Posted December 20th, 2018

Janice Friesen will be on vacation through Friday, December 28. Pastors Chris, Kathryn and Jerry are available by phone.

First Fridays: McPherson College at The Cedars — This is a free educational series of classes that are open to all ages. On Friday, January 4, at 3 p.m., Dr. Allan van Asselt will present “Astronomy.” For information, contact Kendra Flory (floryk@mcpherson.edu or 620.242.0432).

Mission Education Trip to Haiti – July 19-23, 2019. To learn more, meet after church on Sunday, January 27, 2019 in the Church Community Room.

A pancake breakfast, to benefit the Haiti Water Project, is planned for 8:00 – 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 2, in the Church Social Room.

Stewardship of Finance Team – Thank You for your ‘extra’ year-end gifts. An estimated $20,000 is needed, in the next 9 days, to cover expenses through the end of the year.

Musings from Ministry Team Members

Posted November 29th, 2018

Some thoughts to ponder if your Christmas is a bit “Blue”  — Pastor Kathryn

The following is a lightly adapted ‘Blue Christmas’ worship meditation and ritual created by Rex A. E. Hunt who is a ‘grass roots’ religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist.  He lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Forty-six years ordained, first as a Presbyterian (1972), he is today a retired minister of the Uniting Church in Australia (formed in 1977).

Christmas is a time for memories and remembering. For some, the memories are of loved family members who have died, and the holiday season makes the pain of these losses ever more real. For others, the memories are of happier times than we now know; felt as the anguish of broken relationships, the insecurity around employment, the anxiety of illness or poor health, or the emptiness of loss after a bushfire. We sometimes can feel very alone in the midst of all the celebrating of the season, the singing, and the constant proclamation of “Joy, joy, joy!” As we enter this season it is good to remember, we are in the presence of God’s comforting love. It is good to remember that with God, we are safe to feel what we feel: to acknowledge our sadness, to share our concern, to release our anger, to face our emptiness, and still to know that God by whatever name – cares. In the community that is ‘church’, we are in a safe place – a place of comfort and support – a place where we are not alone in our life experiences. When we lose, we grieve. Grief is normal. Grief is universal. At the same time grief is extremely personal. May we and others not forget or deny our journey of grief. We enter the season of Christmas; bringing our needs AND the needs of the world, with our faith AND with our doubts, with our hopes AND our fears. We come as we are, because it is God who invites us to come. And God has promised never to turn us away.

Rather than hiding your reality of a “Blue Christmas”, you are encouraged to name it and ritualize it by lighting a candle each week of Advent and speaking, praying or reading the following words:

The first candle is lit to remember those whom we have loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice, the memory that binds them to us in this season. The second candle is lit to mend the pain of loss. The loss of relationships, the loss of jobs, the loss of health, the loss of home. We pause to gather up the pain of the past and offer it to God, asking that from God’s hands we receive the gift of peace. The third candle is lit to remember ourselves this Christmas time. We pause and remember the past weeks and months and years: the disbelief, the anger, the down times, the poignancy of reminiscing, the hugs and handshakes of family and friends, all those who stood with us. The fourth candle is lit to remember the gift of hope which the Christmas story offers to us. We remember that God is our companion, who shares our life, blessing us, and filling us with longing and with courage. In this season of Advent and Christmas, let us remember: God’s care that – surrounds us, leads us into the future, defeats the darkness with dawn and holds us in Love.