From the desk of Pastor Dan:
Since my last article our church has lost three amazing members of the family of God: Bess Till, Paul Swindall, and Amanda McMillan. My heart is still reeling from the shock of losing Asher and Livy’s mother, so I’m taking advantage of this space to put some thoughts to paper (a bit of grief therapy for myself).
I shall remember Amanda for being one who learned to care deeply for others even while she herself needed friendship and understanding. Her young life was filled with many challenges, and her youthful Christian spirit had already faced too many disappointments. Yet, those fiery trials produced for God’s family a child of God who thirsted for the joy and zest of life through an extra-ordinary wit and a cheerful heart.
I will always remember Amanda for a genuinely thankful spirit and for being a mom extraordinaire, a mamma Grizzly who fiercely defended and nurtured her little cubs. Those two little cubs will benefit the rest of their lives, I pray, for having had a mother who so tenderly loved and prayed for them. Her daily desire for them was that they too might find life to be a truly creative enterprise, full of things to learn and enjoy.
We were all touched by her courageous fight to be there for her children and family for as far as God’s possibilities would stretch. Amanda’s thankful spirit provided the foundation for that fight, and she expressed her appreciation in unique ways, and at every opportunity available to her.
Two Sundays before she died, after a grueling week of treatment at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, and after receiving devastating news about leukemia showing up on her kidneys, she was nevertheless fully engaged with the Be The Match Foundation drive her friend Sandi coordinated in her honor. She hid her pain, the anguish of her heart, as she enjoyed precious moments with friends and even strangers who dropped in to wish her well.
Only three Sundays before she died, Amanda stood to her feet, turned around from her front pew to address the congregation at the beginning of worship. Although red-faced from a hellish week of chemo and other treatments at Northside Hospital, she eloquently gave a heart-felt thank you to the Green Hill church family. Many had given gifts of money to a fund; others had shown her friendship and been faithful to pray for her. She said thank you; I was so proud of her!
Along with possessing a thankful spirit, Amanda will always be to me a great believer in children and the awesome responsibility of parents and teachers and the church to help them reach their God-given potential. Her heart’s longing was to see little ones grow up to live and learn and play with joyful abandon. Amanda would bristle whenever she thought young lives were being stifled by careless or dismissive attitudes towards them.
Amanda, you have been an amazing blessing. Until Jesus comes back, we shall always remember these lessons and many others you bravely taught us…
Maranatha, Pastor Dan
THANK YOU FROM THE MCMILLAN FAMILY
On behalf of Amanda’s Jon, and the entire McMillan family, right up front I want to thank you, Green Hill family, for your tender care so beautifully provided during our “week that was”. Meals, kind thoughts and hugs, tearful sharing of memories, words of encouragement, monetary gifts to help with medical expenses and the upcoming short-term move of Jon’s little family back to our house …for all of this Anita and I say thank you…we are truly surrounded by loving people who know how to love others for Jesus’ sake.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF PRESBYTERIANS NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Green Hill is a member of the Fellowship of Presbyterians. The mission of the Fellowship of Presbyterians is to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ. The Fellowship is an “umbrella organization” that includes members of the PC(USA), members of A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO), and brothers and sisters in Christ beyond these two denominations.
The Fellowship of Presbyterians and ECO (new denomination) met in Orlando at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort January 30- February 1 for its 2nd national gathering. Nearly 1200 Presbyterians from the US, Canada, and Africa were represented. Joel and Jean Mikuta, Jim and Betty Cully, and Pastor Dan attended.
We were uplifted and informed by the mix of plenary speakers who were as follows: Donna Petter, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; Kevin Ford, TAG Consulting; Leighton Ford, Leighton Ministries; Richard Gibbons, Pastor First Presbyterian (ECO), Greenville, SC; Sangyun Len, Pastor, Korean Community Presbyterian (PCUSA); Gary Haugen, Internal Justice Mission; Joseph Small, Ecumenist kicking off French Confession study; Marnie Crumpler, Pastor, Peachtree Presbyterian (PCUSA) in Atlanta; and Eric Jacobsen, Pastor, First Presbyterian (ECO)Tacoma, WA and Becci Curtis, Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian, Tacoma, WA.
We learned about the “How To’s” of a Mission Affinity Group which Green Hill has formed with several other FOP churches in the geographical area and with whom Pastor Dan and several Elders and spouses met February 17th in Pensacola, FL.
Conference break-out session topics ranged from building congregations, becoming missional churches, stepping out of our “safe” environment to reach more people, discerning God’s will together, reaching a new generation (the “Millennial”), a new FOP website called RightNow Resources for Pastors and Elders which lets us access training videos, webinars, conference speakers, and illustrations, a nine-week study of Calvin’s French Confession, and a multi-dimensional study guide for the Essential Tenets.
We came back renewed and excited about the future of FOP within PCUSA and ECO, the new denomination which will remain closely connected to FOP. A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO), a Reformed denomination that was birthed out of the Fellowship of Presbyterians has been growing this past year. This is an ECO update: 28 congregations have fully joined ECO, 48 more are in the process of transitioning into ECO, and another 75-100 congregations are in a congregational discernment process. The most recent congregation to join was the 1700 member First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, OK.
GREEN HILL CAFÉ
The Outreach Committee invites anyone who would like to host the Green Hill Café to sign up for a Sunday on the sheet in the Fellowship Hall. You can find soft drinks in the kitchen, and you will be reimbursed for any food you purchase. If you have any questions, please speak with a member of the Outreach Committee. Thank you for your support of this activity!
GREEN HILL FOOD PANTRY
The Green Hill Food Pantry is in need of the following items: saltine crackers, cornbread mix (like Jiffy), mustard, catsup, mayo, peanut butter, jam/jelly. Small sizes of the condiments are best. At this time there is no space for additional items. Thank you so much for your support of this mission of the church. The Food Pantry workers really appreciate your help!
PASTA & PRAISE NIGHT
Please join us on March 6 for Pasta & Praise night. It’ll be a great evening of fellowship and fun. Dinner will be served at 5:30pm. If you plan to attend, please turn in a reservation slip, which can be found in the pew rack. Cost is just $3 per individual or $5 per family. We can’t wait to see all of you there!
GIRL SCOUT SUNDAY
On Sunday, March 10, the Green Hill congregation will be joined at morning worship by the girls and the parents from Girl Scout Troop #9296. Girl Scout Sunday marks the beginning of Girl Scout Week. Following the service there will be a small reception in the Fellowship Hall. Please join us to welcome our scouting families.
You are invited to place a lily in the sanctuary for Easter in honor or in remembrance of a loved one. If you plan to place a lily, please let the church office know by filling out one of the yellow slips in the pew racks. Please turn in your slip no later than March 27.
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING
One Great Hour of Sharing is an offering that makes the love of Christ real for individuals and communities around the world who suffer the effects of disaster, conflict, or severe economic hardship, and for those who serve them through gifts of money and time. Donations given to the One Great Hour of Sharing make disaster relief, refugee assistance, development aid and more possible. Here at Green Hill, we will take up a collection for the One Great Hour of Sharing on Sunday, March 31. Envelopes for donations to this mission will be available on both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.
IT’S ALL SO OVIBUOS
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MISSION AFFINITY GROUP REPORT
On Sunday, 17 February 2013, pastors, elders, and members from six area churches met in Pensacola to discuss the formation of a Mission Affinity Group (MAG) within the Fellowship of Presbyterians (FOP). The purpose of the MAG is for a small cluster of like-minded churches to develop and strengthen spiritual ties, while working towards improving common goals of increased spiritual commitment, discipleship, responsibility, and accountability through the FOP. Participating churches would enter into a three-year covenant with one another.
Green Hill Presbyterian Church was represented by Pastor McMillan, Joel Mikuta, Betty and Jim Cully, and Diana and Jim Lawrence. The six local Presbyterian churches represented were Euchee Valley (Florida), Geneva (Geneva), Green Hill (Enterprise), Overlook (Mobile), Spring Hill (Mobile), and Westminster (Mobile).
Following an opening prayer by Pastor Mauldin (Westminster), Pastor McMillan explained to the gathering the purpose and goals of the MAG. Each church present then gave a brief descriptive presentation about their church location, size, and interest in the FOP. Elders and members from each church then addressed the group citing instances of how the Holy Spirit was evidenced in their congregation. After a period of fellowship among the attendees and supper, and overview of the recent FOP conference in Orlando was given by Pastor and Mrs. Hall (Spring Hill). Plans were then discussed for another meeting later this year, perhaps in an outdoor park setting.
There were many remarkable evidences of the activity of the Holy Spirit witnessed to by the attendees, ranging from individual transforming experiences to local church outreach projects. Three of the churches conducted “The Bible in 90 Days” study program and described their level of success. A major concern of all the churches was declining membership, and the FOP goal of “more baptisms than funerals by 2018” was discussed. While not all churches in attendance are members of, or plan on joining, the FOP, all of the churches present sought to increase their depth of commitment to their ministry to their members and the local community.
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN NEWS
It seems like the Ides of March are upon us but after the storm the son shines. We are so blessed to have Ann Reynolds and her sister Nell to present our program for our General Membership Meeting on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in our fellowship hall at 11:00 a.m. Mark your calendars and don’t miss their music and the great fellowship with our ladies. Also we will have a short update on the happenings of missionary Rose Bergstrazer. Please bring a salad and a friend to share. There will also be a short business meeting to elect our 2013-14 leaders.
Our Bible Lesson on Sin was so encouraging. I am so blessed to be part of a group that is willing to abide with Christ and study Gods word together. Our March Lesson 7- Teachers; The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly will be on the 21st of March because of the Cursillo conflict and our baby sitter Chelsea will be gone. Please note the date change on your calendar.
We are also looking forward to March 9th at the 27th Annual Spring Gathering at Trinity PC in Fairhope, AL. Keynote Speaker, will be Candy Vernon. The 4 workshops to choose from will be – SIGNIFICANT WOMEN IN JESUS LIFE, USING YOUR GIFTS, PRAYING IN COLOR, AND MUSICAL PRAISE. The proceeds and offerings will support Mission Haven and the Presbyterian Home for Children. We will deliver our Hygiene Kits then. Please bring your hygiene kit supplies to our Green Hill general membership meeting so they can be assembled before we go on the 9th. Thank you all so much. May we continue to trust in the Lord and do good things and love others. With you in His service.
Betty Jo Bierbaum