Acts 9:1-4; Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
We’ve all had agendas by which we have followed and acted. But sometimes agendas take on a life of their own. Paul for example, before he encountered Jesus, the agenda he followed was one to protect the Jewish faith, to keep it pure, and in his dedication to this “agenda” he authorized or actually participated in the death of many people.
The emphasis in these verses is that God doesn’t need us to protect him, he can defend himself… We on the other hand are to be about the mission of the church. And that mission? To share the gospel and be a people who witness compassion and grace.
You know there are thousands of churches all over the nation that are standing empty or close to empty. Why? In most cases it is because they have forgotten why they exist. I have heard of a minister who has always wanted to build a church (facility) in a certain area. He is a member of a particular denomination that has several churches within that same area, but not on the road he wants. These other churches are struggling; some have great facilities but few members. This minister is spending hundreds of thousands if not millions on a facility that duplicates others just a few minutes’ drive away. Imagine if instead of having an agenda for a facility, they took over an existing facility and spent the money on a ministry of compassion and grace.
As we ponder the future let’s not forget that it isn’t denominations but us the body of Christ that makes ministry possible. It’s not denominations that define us but Christ.
SESSION BRIEFS: JUNE 2015
The annual financial review for the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 was completed by Small Business Solutions. All was in order, and the Church Treasurer was commended for the accuracy and orderliness of his work.
Vacation Bible school is scheduled for 15 to 19 June 2015. The building has been prepared and plans are coming together nicely. As of this date, 28 children are enrolled.
$565 for their work of the Gideon’s was collected during their morning worship presentation.
The second meeting between the Resolution Team of Presbytery and the Session occurred on Wednesday, 3 June. Minutes have been entered into the Church record.
Revised Emergency Data Cards have been sent out and are starting to come back in to the church office.
Membership: A request was received and approved from Mars Hill Presbyterian Church in Tennessee requesting the transfer of former member Anita McMillan to their congregation.
The church membership roll is scheduled to be reviewed by the session in August.
Special Election of Elder to Elder McDonald’s position – The current Annual Nominating Committee (ANC) will be reactivated to search for a candidate to fill Elder McDonald’s position.
Walter J. Lawrence, Ruling Elder, GHPC, Clerk of Session
SESSION BRIEFS: JULY 2015
Minutes from the meetings of the Resolution Team Committee and Study Group with representatives from the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) on 15 June, the meeting with representatives of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) on 28 June, and the meeting of the Resolution Team and the GHPC Congregation of 15 July were entered into the record.
Treasurer Mikuta presented the financial report for the Second Quarter of 2015. He noted that most expenses were in line with budgeted amounts with the exceptions of Insurance and Maintenance and Choir and Music. It was noted that our total expenses still exceed income by approximately $21,000.
The Administration and Stewardship committee confirmed that there are three property deeds. Treasurer Mikuta has copies of all three deeds in the church office.
Piano repairs were completed, with a total cost of $420.
Two air-conditioning units went down last month. One unit was replaced and another unit was repaired.
We received a complaint of hornets in a tree by the playground.
One of the fans in the large Sunday School classroom is inoperable. Both will be replaced if indicated, as they are approximately 10 years old.
Elder Seery noted that the afterschool Bible study program will need drivers. The program occurs on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Drivers need to be available from 2:50 PM till 3:20 PM.
A revised Elder Sponsor List was published and distributed 6 July 2015.
On Sundays when there are no sponsors for Café, just drinks will be provided. More sponsors are needed and all are encouraged to sign up to host our Café.
The use of church facilities by scouting units was reviewed. All scouting units will need to submit a request for use of facilities to the church office for each event.
Church Elders are covered under the current liability insurance plan as long as they are conducting church business in good faith.
Elder Webb is now serving as Chairman of the Memorial Fund Committee. He has recruited three members to the committee. Treasurer Mikuta also serves on the committee in an ex officio capacity. The committee will be revising the rules and submitting them to the Session for approval.
A document entitled “A Brief Statement of Vision, Mission, and Essential Beliefs” will be presented at the next Session meeting for final reading and approval. This document will help to define who we are as a church and chart the course for the future direction of Green Hill Presbyterian Church.
The next Town Hall Meeting with the Resolution Team is scheduled for 19 August. Elder Cully will try to coordinate obtaining representatives from ECO and EPC to come and talk with our congregation in a Town Hall Meeting format before the next meeting with the Resolution Team, if possible. The Session will try to ensure the congregation has the opportunity to hear and question both denominations prior to a formal consideration of changing denominations.
A final determination has not been made as to the sequence of upcoming Congregational Meetings and how the Session may choose to vote and make a recommendation to the congregation.
Future Session meetings will start at 1:30 PM.
PLEASE NOTE: A Congregational Meeting will be called on Sunday, 9 August 2015 for the purpose of selecting the next Annual Nominating Committee. Three Ruling Elders and one Trustee position will need to be nominated for the Class of 2018.
The next Session meeting will be 9 August 2015 at 1:30 PM
PLEASE NOTE: 8/19/2015 – The next Congregation meeting with Resolution Team will be Wednesday, 19 August 2015. Potluck at 5:30 PM will be followed by the Town Hall Meeting at 6:15 PM.
The Summer 2015 Meeting of the Presbytery of South Alabama is scheduled for 21-22 August 2015 at the Government Street Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Alabama. Elder Lawrence was selected as the primary Ruling Elder Commissioner; Elder Aylesworth was selected as alternate.
Church Officer and Leadership Training (COLT) is scheduled for Saturday, 9 January 2016, at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, Mobile Alabama. The cost will be $15.
Walter J. Lawrence, M.D., Ruling Elder, GHPC, Clerk of Session
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING, AUGUST 9
A Congregational meeting will be held on Sunday, August 9, immediately following the morning worship service. The purpose of this meeting is to elect church members to the Annual Nominating Committee. That committee’s purpose will then be to nominate members for the next class of Elders, who will be voted on by the congregation at a later date. Any nominations at the meeting on the 9th must have the prior concurrence of the nominee.
TOWN HALL MEETING, AUGUST 19
The Resolution Team from Presbytery will be at Green Hill on Wednesday, August 19, at 6:15pm to meet with the congregation. Every active member of the church is asked to attend. A pot luck supper will be held prior to the meeting, at 5:30pm.
As you may remember, the Resolution Team is made up Elders and Deacons from nearby PCUSA churches. They have met with the Session to hear concerns about the recent changes within the PCUSA, and now they would like to speak directly with the members of the congregation. At issue is whether or not Green Hill will remain in the PCUSA or move to another denomination. The job of the Resolution Team is to guide us through this process, no matter the final outcome. The ultimate goal is to help Green Hill remain whole and active as a reformed worshiping community.
USHERS, WE NEED YOU!
On Sundays we need a team of two people to serve as ushers for the morning worship service. Ushers are needed to greet people, to pass out bulletins, to collect prayer requests, and to collect the offering. For our visitors, our ushers are the first people they meet, and we need to make them feel welcome.
Over the past several months, we have had trouble filling this slot. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered, especially those who were called into service at the last moment. We really appreciate you!
If you are available to serve as an usher, please sign up on the board in the kitchen. You can serve for as many or as few days as you would like. If you have any questions, please contact Sandi in the church office.
GREEN HILL CAFÉ
Green Hill Cafe is held every Sunday morning from 10:30am to 11:00am. Coffee, doughnuts, and other assorted breakfast foods are served in the Fellowship Hall in between Sunday School and the Worship Service. Green Hill Cafe is a time for Christian Fellowship with our Green Hill Family, and it is a time to welcome, and get to know, our visitors.
Are you looking for an opportunity to serve? We need Café Hosts! We need people to set up the food prior to Café and to clean up afterwards. Beverages are supplied by the church, and food expenses are reimbursed by the church. If you are interested, please contact either Ron Seery or the church office. The sign-up sheet is in the kitchen.
EMERGENCY CONTACT CARDS
The cards are available on the table in the Narthex and should be turned into the church office. This confidential data will be kept in the church office. It will only be used in case of emergency. Each adult is asked to fill out a separate card. Please list minor children under “household members.” Thank you!
ALZHEIMER’S CAREGIVERS SUPPORT MEETING
The next Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support meeting will be held on August 19. These monthly meetings are open to anyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in their family. We will get together, share our stories, and work on learning more about how to deal with these diseases.
The end of summer vacation is quickly drawing to an end so it looks like it is time to start planning some of the activities for the women’s coming year. There will be a planning meeting of the CT on Thursday, August 13 at 10:00 am in the session room at Green Hill. Your new slate of officers will be installed on Sunday August 16.
The exciting news is the South Alabama Fall Gathering is going to be held in Geneva Presbyterian Church on Saturday September 12, 2015 from 10AM – 2PM. Our own Dee Koza will lead us in sharing remembrances of “water’s edge experiences” recorded in our BIBLE. It will be a day for learning, sharing, worshiping and wonderful fellowship with our sisters in Christ from around our Presbytery. We need to register by September 1. Registration is $10.00 which includes breakfast snack and lunch. There will be transportation furnished from the church.
This is also an opportunity for us to donate art supplies for the after school program Dee conducts in Geneva. You’ll be hearing more about this again. Anyway we are glad to have you aboard as we start our new year.
There is also a PW Mission Trip to the Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center near Little Rock, Arkansas. This is the home of our own Presbyterian Disaster Assistance warehouse, Solar Under The Sun and the wonderful Ferncliff Summer Camp programs, We will learn, work and experience many aspects of our Church’s work helping people in the US and around the world.
HURRY to register because there is only space for 20 participants (accommodations are limited). The first 20 forms with checks get to go. Judy Persons will be one of the trip leaders along with Karene Jones. She is a delightful lady from Little Rock who just spent the weekend working on details for this trip.
YOUTH BIBLE STUDY
All children in 3rd grade through 8th grade are invited to participate in Green Hill’s After-School Bible Study.
This year we are offering two different lessons: Jesus in the Spotlight will meet on Mondays. How to Study the Bible Yourself will meet on Tuesdays. See below for descriptions of each.
Lessons will run from after-school to 5pm. Classes will meet on days that Enterprise City Schools are in session. Transportation from school to Green Hill may be provided upon request.
To register, please contact the church office at 334-347-9530.
Jesus in the Spotlight, John 1-10
MONDAYS, Starting August 17, 2015
Lights…Camera…Action! In this Bible Study, you’ll pretend to be a film director who makes a movie about Jesus’ life. Your movie will be about the first ten chapters of John’s book, and it will be full of awesome adventures. As you read through the script, you’ll learn all about who Jesus’ friends were, why He came, what He did, where He went, and how you can really get to know Him. Are you ready? Let’s get the film rolling…Jesus in the Spotlight–take one!
How to Study Your Bible, For Kids
TUESDAYS, Starting August 18, 2015
Pssst! Wanna Solve A Mystery?! Climb up to the tree house of the M and M Detective Agency and let Max, Molly, and Sam the Beagle put you through a special six-week “inductive detective” training course. The agency has a big mystery to solve—the mystery of discovering for yourself what God’s Word says. Wow! Sounds like an adventure!
As part of the team, you’ll sharpen your skills so that you can know what the Bible says, understand what it means, and apply it to your life all on your own. Isn’t that awesome? So put on your detective hat, grab your magnifying glass, and get set to decode secret messages, solve puzzles to get clues, follow a suspect’s trail, and even talk to eyewitnesses!
Volunteers are needed to help with this year’s Youth Bible Study. We need drivers to take children from area schools to the church. Drivers will need to be available from about 2:50pm to 3:20pm. Your support of this project of our church is greatly appreciated! Please contact April Seery if you would like to volunteer.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
We had an AMAZING time at Vacation Bible School this summer. What a joy it was to get to know all of the children and to teach them about the Word of God. We were also blessed to get to spend time with the families at a wonderful hot-dog lunch.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and to the parents who made this week possible and thank you to God for all of the answered prayer. We are truly a blessed church family. We pray that everyone who attended VBS heard God’s voice and will be led by the Holy Spirit.
GIRL SCOUT BRONZE AWARD PROJECT
Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary Supply Drive
Saturday, August 8 * 10:00am to 2:00pm
Tractor Supply, Enterprise, AL (1305 Boll Weevil Circle)
As part of their Bronze Award Project, the Juniors from Girl Scout Troop #9338, including our own Kendall and Makayla, are running a Supply Drive for the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary. On Saturday, August 8, the girls will be in front of Tractor Supply in Enterprise to collect donations. We are looking for everything from newspapers (to line the bottom of cages), to tissue boxes (for opossums to hide in), old pillow cases and towels (for animals to sleep in), and more. Other items used by the Sanctuary, such as feed, toys, supplements, and assorted large animal care items, will be available for purchase at the front of the store. Gift cards are also available.
Please come out to show support for our Troop and to support the Sanctuary!
For more information about the Sanctuary and the amazing work the volunteers do there, rehabilitating and releasing injured and orphaned animals, please visit their website: BigBendWildlife.com