January 25, 2013 Newsletter
New Beginnings at New Hope
New Beginnings Committee Meeting

A meeting was held on January 24, 2013, at 2 p.m. at 214 River Drive. Present were Pastor Felkel, John Fairey, Glenn Simpson and Art Whetstone. Highlights of the meeting:
  • Glenn and Art reported on a visit to Plant Depot where the proprietor was given pictures of the church and fellowship hall. We discussed the landscape in general terms, focusing on the idea of permanent, low-maintenance shrubs. She will get back to us with recommendations.
  • Painting of the fellowship hall was discussed. Currently, we have one bid. Another painter has been contacted and a third will be asked to give us an estimate.
  • Curtis brought a copy of the guidelines in use at Cattle Creek cemetery. Thus far, there has been no discussion with the Conference rep.
  • Member contacts. Contacts with non-attending members was reviewed. A new approach is needed and is discussed below:

Member Canvas

The first meeting with Jim Arant was on November 6, 2012, more than two months ago. Since then the committee has met eight times and Jim has had one follow up meeting. There has been progress in some areas, mainly scheduling improvements to the church properties. But the objective of getting non-attending members back has not been met. To date, none have returned for a Sunday service. Nor have we had anyone join us for the committee meetings.

Contacts by the committee thus far have been of a casual nature and have not produced results. We will begin a member canvas which will be led by the pastor. You will contacted by phone and asked to accomodate him with a personal visit. Please welcome him and share your thoughts with him. We need ideas on what it will take to have a Christian church in Rowesville. New Hope is our best hope. We have a nice church and fellowship hall, and no mortgage. In addition we have a parsonage, or at least a one-third interest in it. We need this church, but it cannot go forward with a half dozen members. We earnestly need your opinions on what is missing and what we can do about it.

The First Miracle

Pastor Curtis' sermon last Sunday was about the first miracle performed by Jesus - turning water into wine. As told in the second chapter of John, the occasion was a wedding feast in Cana, at which Jesus, his mother and the disciples were guests. Mary tells Jesus that they are out of wine and asked him to do something about it. This was a serious matter since wedding feasts typically lasted several days. Jesus reply was, "My time has not yet come". But Jesus apparently changed his mind and instructed the servants to fill some empty containers with water, and then to draw some out and taste it. They took it to the master of the banquet, who declared it to be of the finest quality.

There are some interesting questions suggested here. Why did Jesus change his mind and honor Mary's request? And what did he mean by "his time"? As to the latter, Jesus' "time" refers to his glorification which would include his death and resurrection, after which he would receive his true position as the son of God. This would come much later. So why did he change his mind and perform his first miracle to prevent some kind of social embarrassment. It was necessary for Jesus to reveal his glory through a miracle. The only people who knew what he had done were Mary, the disciples and a servant or two. Mary already knew who Jesus was, but the disciples needed convincing. It was early in Jesus' ministry, perhaps just a few days after his baptism. This was a private miracle, not done to relieve suffering as were many others, but to strengthen the faith of his new disciples. Jesus would have preferred they take him at his word, but that was not to be. He needed them with him at this juncture in his ministry.

Upcoming Meetings
  • PPRC Meeting, Sunday, January 27, 2013, 6 p.m. at the church (Note new time).
  • Jim Arant Second Follow Up: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 2 p.m., at the church
Offer Them Christ

At the beginning of the Methodist revival movement, when John Wesley sent Francis Asbury off to America, Asbury asked, "What shall I tell them?" Wesley said, "Offer them Christ!" Right now we don't offer much at New Hope other than a worship service on Sunday morning. With your help, we can have a church that offers fellowship, healing, comfort and service in the name of the Lord. Thanks in advance for your suggestions and please continue praying for us.
(Offer Them Christ by Kenneth Wyatt)