January 31, 2013 Newsletter
New Beginnings at New Hope
Meeting with Jim Arant

A meeting was held on January 30, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the church with Jim Arant, congregation coordinator. Present were Pastor Felkel, John Fairey, Glenn Simpson and Art Whetstone. Highlights of the meeting:

  • Prayer experiences of the members since the last meeting were shared.

  • Contact with existing members and others was discussed. The need for a plan to invite new members to church was considered.

  • A fellowship dinner will be planned for February at a local restaurant, possibly Clark's in Santee. This would be an evening event for the purpose of getting together in a social setting. Invitations will be extended to friends in the community as well as members. We hope to finalize details on the event very soon and will make those available in this letter and by special invitation.

  • Jim encouraged us to focus our prayers during the coming month on our individual needs from the church.

Helping the Poor

Are churches doing enough to help the poor? Curtis' sermon on Sunday suggests they aren't. To be sure, there is help from charities, the government and individual philantrophy, but churches should also be involved if we would truly follow Jesus. The text for the sermon was from Luke 4:14-21. Jesus had returned to Nazareth and attended services at the synagogue. As a teacher, he was asked to read from the scroll of Isaiah. After the reading, Jesus said that he was the Messiah that Isaiah predicted would come. This and the statement that God would reach out to the Gentiles as well as the Jews resulted in him literally being run out of town.

But Isaiah 61 from which Jesus read says much more. The Messiah was to bring good news to the poor, to welcome them in and take care of their physical needs. This was Jesus' first recorded sermon and the message could not be clearer. Why then don't Christians always follow this teaching? Here are some common excuses. 1. The poor don't deserve our help. 2. God's call to help them was for another time. 3. We don't know any poor people. 4. I have my own needs. 5. I am too busy. 6. I don't know where to start. 7. My little bit won't make a difference.

Can our church make a difference? Can you? Here's a compelling statement from this same scripture that is easily overlooked. "He went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath.. " Luke 4:16. Even though he was the perfect son of God, Jesus attended services every week. He was faithful in his participation in worship. Like helping the poor, there is no shortage of excuses for not being involved in church worship: "I don't get anything out of it", "the music's too old", "the building is too cold or too hot", "they aren't friendly there". Jesus said that we should help the poor, the downtrodden, the prisoners and the less fortunate among us. And his church is where he wants us to come together to carry out this mission.

PPRC Meeting

A meeting was held at 6 p.m., Sunday, January 27, at New Hope, to discuss the parsonage lease. The meeting was chaired by Joann Lightfoot of Cattle Creek. All three churches had representatives in attendance. Joann told us that the tenant was behind on her rent, had lost her job and has no immediate prospects for another. To date, every rent payment has been late. In addition, the last inspection indicated that the house was not being cared for properly. The lease expires in April and a 60 - day termination notice is required. Not a good situation for any landlord, much less a church. A serious business decision confronted the PPRC and we had much discussion on it. But we felt the presence of God in this meeting. Some of us had been thinking about Curtis' sermon on helping the poor and it seemed to us that on this day, God has put one of his less fortunate in the very shadow of the church. We ended up deciding to offer the tenant reduced rent for the remainder of the lease. This would hopefully give her some breathing room in finding a job and looking for a new place, should that becomes necessary. We would ask in return only that she do a better job of keeping the house in order. In addition, we would make needed repairs including the stove, which has a burner out. Joann will visit with her and report back to the group.


"Don't put it down, put it away." Good advice for housekeeping, staying organized, etc. The same advice could apply to brain clutter. Why do we still carry around a grudge against someone when the event happened weeks, even years, ago? Put it away. Make way for something new. You shall clear out the old to make way for the new. - Leviticus 26:10
  -- from Daily Guideposts, January 24, 2013

Mailing List

A listing of members currently receiving the newsletter is printed on the back of this issue. For those receiving the letter via email who wish to access the list, click here Please let me know of any corrections or updates by emailing to awhet@att.net or calling 531-6074..

Upcoming Meetings

  • New Beginnings Committe meeting, Thursday, February 7, 2 p.m. at 214 River Drive.

  • Jim Arant Follow Up: Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 2 p.m., at the church