from the Pastor's Pen
I often challenge you at Christmas time to slow down and enjoy the Christmas season by not feeling that you have to be involved in every Christmas tradition that your family has ever had. So often, we are so busy getting ready for Christmas that we miss the wonderful anticipation and joy of this holy season of the year. I believe that this year’s theme will really lend itself to helping us to do this. Read below to find what to expect and how you can choose to get involved. Be thrilled once again by the HOPE of Christmas and of our world!
Advent is almost here! Our theme for Advent will be “A Thrill of Hope.” Experience HOPE in the person of Jesus. In a world that feels weary and uncertain at time, the devotionals, worship services, messages, and studies invite us to pause, breathe deeply, and learn to live into God’s promise of hope in the person of Jesus.
Devotional books are now available for adults/teens for $6 and storybooks for families with children are also available for $6. Kids will follow the Advent story through the eyes of Hope, an 8-year-old girl living in Bethlehem and preparing for the guests arriving at her family’s inn. See Pastor Wayne to get or order you book. If you would like one and cannot afford the $6, please see me as we will cover one book per household as well as a children’s devotional for families with a children (children). A Thrill of Hope app will be available for download and will release a new video each week of Advent for kids to learn a song that they can sing along with Hope.
The sermon schedule for Advent will be as follows:
Christmas Eve is always a special service and is well attended at our church and I’m sure that this year will be no different. Be listening/watching for more information coming soon about plans to share the Light of Hope with those around us on Christmas Eve. There are many people who have to work on Christmas Eve, such as those who work in the nursing homes, police officers, gas station/convenience store employees and we are going to reach out to them on Christmas Eve by taking trays of cookies to them after the service (nursing homes prior to the service). This will involve needing many dozens of cookies baked and these will be packaged up on the evening of December 23rd. How can you get involved in this new way of reaching out to share God’s love with the community around us?
Merry Christmas from Carol and I! We certainly hope that you have a wonderful Christmas season and a happy new year. You mean so much to us and we love you! I hope that we get to see all of you who are in the area out to church as often as possible during this Advent/Christmas season.
In Christ’s Love,
Do you ever feel like, as a Christian, you just don’t fit into our society? Your ethics are different from some of those around you. You want to dedicate Sunday as your Sabbath while society treats it as just another day of the week. The language that some around you use is just not the way you talk. Some friends just can’t understand why you don’t do some of the things that you used to do. You fear that your children and teens are going to be pulled away from God through friends, media, and what they may be taught at school. You fear losing them to the society around you.
T. Scott Daniels has written a book entitled, “Embracing EXILE—Living Faithfully as God’s Unique People in the World”. I had the privilege of hearing him speak on this topic at a pastor’s conference at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University and felt like he was really nailing it as far as describing how we should look at the society we are living in today and how to interact with that society. Rev. Daniels is senior pastor at Nampa College Church of the Nazarene. Previously, Scott pastored in Pasadena, California and served as the dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. He proposes that, “Exile can be a frightening prospect. Like the Israelites in Babylon, Christians today may feel they are in unfamiliar territory, surrounded by a culture with customs and practices foreign to their faith. In these times of dislocation and powerlessness, God wants to help his people experience anew the possibilities of covenantal faithfulness.” In Embracing EXILE, T. Scott Daniels invites the church to embrace this modern time of “exile” and to seize this unique opportunity to be a blessing to the culture around us. The world needs a holy people who embody the habits of the coming kingdom.
We will be starting this 7-week sermon series and group study on Sunday, October 7th. The topics will be:
Books are available at the church for just $6. See and pay Pastor Connie Young for a book.
UPDATES: We had a great time at the Albion Fair with the youth and mission groups running the Snack Shack to raise funds for their ministries. Thank you to everyone who donated supplies, baked/cooked the goodies we sold, worked in the booth, and helped with set-up and tear-down. Our Back to Church Sunday, “You Belong Here” was a wonderful service with about a 30% increase in attendance! Many seeds of the Gospel were planted. Pray for those seeds to grow!
When you aren’t here to worship with us, we really miss you. We want to worship and fellowship and grow with you!
In Christ’s Love,
Many of our young people woke up this morning earlier than they have been and went to school for their first day back. Others already started or start tomorrow. May God be close to our students, teachers, and school administrators as they begin a new school year. This is an opportunity for taking Jesus into the public arena from the kindergartner through the high school senior and for the employees. Our church mission is “To be and develop disciples of Christ” and you all have an opportunity to do just that in the public school! Go be disciples!
Greetings from Albion Nazarene!
I trust that you have been having a great summer. Some of you have been able to get away for a few days or even a few weeks. So glad that Brent and Michelle Green were able to have a great trip to Europe. The pictures were beautiful! Happy 24th anniversary!
What an exciting couple of weeks we have had through the ministries of Albion Nazarene! We worked with other churches in the local Ministerium to put on a one night event, Summer Safety Bash, right after school let out for the summer for children and their parents/guardians. The focus was on safety of the children with many community groups participating. We had between 450 and 500 people there in the Albion Borough Park including the 80 volunteers. The evening ended with two family movies on two different screens and many people enjoyed a wonderful night out AND the weather was perfect! Thank you to Tonya Hockenberry, our Sunday School Ministry Leader and Associate Intern Pastor, for her leadership and to out Sunday School Ministry Board for birthing the whole idea!
May is the beginning of the new church year for our congregation, so it is a natural time to review what God has been doing and look to the future. We have had our annual election of officers and delegates and you will find the results of that election in this newsletter. I am so encouraged by the number of people stepping up with a willingness to serve. We have given out my Pastor’s Report and the reports from our Associates, Head Trustee, and department heads. They are still available at the church and have also been put on the church website and church Facebook page. The new Church Board will have their first meeting on May 9th. Welcome to the two brand new board members, Mike Crosscut and Beth Ann Kean.
On Sunday morning, May 6th, we are going to be having a special VISION DAY. You will have an opportunity to share your ideas and insights both in the area of our ministries and our facilities and grounds. It will be a Worship Service with a twist and should be very exciting. We will be set up at tables for a less formal setting and to allow for you to write out some ideas that you have. A light meal will follow. Don’t miss VISION DAY!
As you pray about where God is leading us as a congregation, I encourage you to keep our Mission and Core Values in mind. Pray and think about ways that we can fulfill our God-given mission while sticking to our Core Values.
To be and develop Disciples of Christ
Love God with all of our being,
Love people compassionately and unconditionally,
Share the Good News of Jesus Christ in every way possible.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
My paraphrase of Proverbs 29:18 is, “When God’s people do not accept God’s vision for them, they will run in every which direction, causing more harm than good. They are joyful when they are following God’s direction.”
Have a great month! Maybe it won’t snow on us this month!
In Christ’s Love,
To be and develop Disciples of Christ
It is my privilege to bring to you my 26th report, coming up on completing 27 years as your pastor. You are a wonderful, alive, healthy congregation and I brag about you any chance that I get.
I have very much enjoyed working with our three ministry interns, Connie Young with her District Minister’s License and Tonya Hockenberry and Robert Swedenhjelm with their Local Minister’s Licenses. Connie is almost finished with her preparation for ordination and has been approved for ordination at this year’s District Assembly on Friday evening, June 29th. She is currently serving as Supply Pastor at Meadville Nazarene doing their preaching and making hospital calls and other special visits. Tonya has served as our Children’s Ministry director and recently led another successful women’s retreat. Robert works with Worship and Technology and has developed our new webpage and been instrumental in getting our morning services broadcast live on the internet and available to watch anytime on YouTube. I enjoy working with all three of these ministers who have had their ministerial call recognized by our Church Board. It is an honor to work with these three fine ministers and I look forward to seeing where God is going to take them in their service for Him.
I especially want to thank Pastor Connie for her work this year as our Associate of Discipleship Ministries. She has led the Church Board through “Passages”, a small group discipleship Bible study and now many from the Board are leading their own groups. It is our prayer that many from these groups will then begin to lead new groups, both with people from the church and from outside of the church. We are seeing individuals growing closer to God and maturing in their faith as they study the Bible together and support each other in their faith journeys.
We are also privileged to have Pastor Phil Gilmore and Deb as part of our congregation. Phil did his internship with us, then went to pastor our Corry Church of the Nazarene, and then moved back when he took early retirement due to his health. Phil has kept us updated on how to be in prayer for the needs of the church and community. We are stronger today because we have prayed. One example this year of answered prayer is with Jackson Ransom, who was born quite prematurely and has is now growing and gaining in strength. Every time we see Jackson we are reminded that we have a prayer answering God. There are many other examples of prayers answered this year. Continue to pray for Phil and Deb that he might receive the right kidney donation at the right time. Also, pray for them as they seek God’s guidance related to their future plans.
It looks like this is going to be a year of change in our congregation in several areas.
One of the clearest signs of the level of health and spiritual growth I am seeing in the church is in the willingness of people to step forward to volunteer. The response to nominations this year has been by far the best I have ever seen. We have just about twice the number we are electing agreeing to be on the ballot, including in the area of Church Board. We are electing 4 board members and have 8 names on the ballot, including 4 who have never been on our Church Board before! That is really exciting! As the makeup of the Board changes, we have new spiritual gifts, talents, and ideas brought to the table. There are other areas where people are stepping up to minister within the church and outside the walls of the church. God is growing His church!
50 Years!Niles Copeland chose not to be on the ballot this year, having completed 50 years on the Board of this local church! WOW! Thank you, Niles, for your faithful service. He continues to be committed to our church and will continue to serve with us in many areas.
Thank you, Shirley!
Thank you to Shirley Copeland for all of your work as Custodian. Shirley serves faithfully and certainly works “as unto the Lord.” It is great to know that when we walk into the church on Sunday morning it is clean and presentable to all. Be sure to thank Shirley for what she does.
I am looking forward to our 2018/19 church year being one of our best!
Thank you for loving Carol and I so much and for being our church family. You are very important to us and we do love you! I say it again, it is my privilege to be your pastor! We are a very fortunate pastor and spouse to have a people like you to join with on our spiritual journey. Let’s keep fulfilling our Mission and living by our Core Values.
Pastor Wayne Hennen
Jesus is Alive! We just remembered the suffering and sacrificial death of Jesus and then this past Sunday celebrated His resurrection! Because of His sacrifice for us, we can be forgiven of our sins and because of His resurrection, we know that we can have abundant life, a life freed from the power of sin, and an eternal life in heaven at the end of our earthly existence! That, my friends, is Good News! That is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Have you confessed your sins so that his sacrifice is effective for you? Have you fully given yourself over to God for Him to be Lord of your life so that His Spirit can cleanse you and transform you without you getting in His way?
Our discipleship groups are up and running, studying the Bible together using a study entitled “Passages.” “Passage” is defined as:
If you did not get into a group this time around, I encourage you to make sure that you get into one during the next round. Let Pastor Connie or me know that you are interested. Many, if not all, of those in the groups will be looking to start their own group once they complete Passages. We are growing spiritually through these groups, through our Sunday School classes, through our worship services and sermons, through individual and family devotions, and through serving God with our lives.
This past Sunday I announced the retirement of Denise Hites as our Administrative Assistant. She has served faithfully in this position for 33 years and we can’t thank her enough for all of her work through which she has gone above and beyond in the “job description” in service to God and this local congregation. Be sure to let her know how much you love and appreciate her! She will continue working as our church treasurer, for which we are very thankful.
I also introduced our new Administrative Assistant Jenifer Crowl, who started working with Denise on April 2nd in order to learn from her throughout the month of April. Jen and her husband, Steve, and their two girls, Faith and Eden, have been attending our church since VBS in 2016. Jen comes to us with excellent skills in many of the areas involved with being our Administrative Assistance and the Church Board voted unanimously to hire her for 20 hours per week. Steve and Jen have been really growing as disciples of Christ and she recently shared this praise with me:
Over the past few months a wonderful and amazing change has been taking place within me. I believed my whole life I WAS living for God and that I was so close to His understanding. Now I realize how far off I actually was! I’ve always, always known I was meant to do God’s work. I’ve always felt that was an honor! However, I never felt a clear assignment. When I went to God in prayer He told me, ‘You have a willing heart, but you’ve still never read the manual!’ So, for the first time I have been READING the Bible. Actually READING and studying. NOW, I understand what they mean by the ‘Living Word’! Something wonderful and filling happens while reading! I can’t explain it with words very well, yet I know it’s an amazing feeling that I suddenly can’t get enough of! I am excited because finally NOW God can use me more effectively in His purposes.
Jen states that she is excited to serve the church and help it to thrive and grow. Jen, “WELCOME”!
In Christ’s Love,