Update Newsletter

July 2017 Volume 40 Number 8

Youth Catechism Trip
Lauren McKean

On Wednesday, June 14, nine youth who had just finished up their catechism class embarked on an eight-plus hour bus ride to Akron (in Lancaster County), PA, along with Pastor Bill, Pastor Jeff, Orlyn and Lois Lehman, and Jenna Smith. Thus started the first day of a 5-day trip full of bonding, volunteering, experiencing different ethnicities and—last but not least—learning more about God, Jonah and the Mennonites of Lancaster County.
When we arrived in Akron Wednesday night, we went to The Welcoming Place, in the Americas house, where we'd be staying. After getting situated, we headed to Awash—an Ethiopian restaurant that served as our first cross-cultural experience during the trip. We tried foods such as bread with a spicy spread, lentils and lamb on a spongy bread called injera. It wasn't my favorite, but then, I like to stick to American food!
The next day, we headed to the MCC Resource Center in Ephrata to do volunteer work. Some people helped pack blankets and quilts, while others in our group helped recycle books and other paper. Afterward, we went to the Ten Thousand Villages store and café to eat and see how people are giving others in different countries job opportunities. That was really neat!
That night, we left for Sight and Sound Theater to see their production of Jonah, which we had been doing devotions over and reading about. The actors did a fantastic job and really helped give insight to the story. I feel that our devotional discussions were also influenced by this. We talked about Jonah's possible motives for NOT going to Nineveh, the Ninevites' quick acknowledgment to Jonah's coming and sharing God's message, God's mercy and Jonah's anger because of it. I really enjoyed the show!
On Friday, we headed out to multiple Mennonite historical places with our tour guide, Brinton. We started with the Hans Herr House. This is the oldest Mennonite meetinghouse still standing in the Western Hemisphere at 300 years old! There, and at the Mennonite Historical Society (where we went next), we saw how the Mennonites lived, what they believed and how their meeting houses were set up. I learned that the Mennonites came to the USA for religious freedom by boat with help from Russian ships (that helped protect them from other fleets) and had smooth sailing the remainder of the trip. They settled in Lancaster for its rich soil and lived there a long time.
Saturday, we drove a while, boarded a train and rode to Philadelphia. While in the City of Brotherly Love, our group got to see some cool historical things: the Liberty Bell, the United States Mint and Independence Hall. But on the way to the train station and back to the house, Brinton told us more about the Mennonites. Something that I had found interesting was that, during the Revolutionary War, the Mennonites were Loyalists. I had always thought that they were kind of the bad guys because they supported King George! However, in the case of the Mennonites, they did this because they had to. They, in order to pass their land down to their offspring, had signed an oath to the king. So, because the Mennonites wouldn't break their oath by signing an oath to the new country and instead followed Mathew 5:37 ("But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." NKJV), they were viewed as enemies of the colonies. A few even got hanged for selling horses to the British as no one else would buy from them! Now that is a great act of faith!
On our last day, we had an amazing opportunity to go to an African church. It was such a great experience! The majority of the service was translated from French, and all of it was very passionate and energetic! The songs (sung by memory—no lyrics on a board or in a hymnal) were full of praise to God and, not only did the people sing it, they showed it! Everyone was dancing and was even supposed to dance up to the front to give their offering! It was amazing how such a small church showed so much passion! Another thing that was really cool was that they gave money to all the widows for Father's Day. They were actively responding to James 1:27, that says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (NIV).
All in all, that was an incredible experience! I had so much fun and learned so much on this trip! I am so blessed to have gotten to go and am glad to share my trip! †

 

Adult Ministries Has a Back-to-School Report Card for FMC!
Acts 2:42 records a picture of the first century church—you know, the one that “turned the world upside down.” Acts tells us, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” If we desire to be “all-in” Christ followers and if we desire to serve Him and be about building His kingdom, let’s take a quick measure of ourselves. Perhaps our Instructor’s comments on our report card would come out looking like this:
A - Devoting ourselves to the breaking of bread (Instructor: Doing a very good job of always making sure there is plentiful, delicious food!)
B - Devoting ourselves to fellowship (Instructor: Fellowship as visiting around the tables and in clusters, A; fellowship as in caring to know and deeply care for those outside of one’s own group, C; so over-all average, B.)
C+ - Devoting ourselves to teaching (Instructor's Note: Remember—it is through My Word and in the midst of other believers that I have promised to show up and work in you! Ask Me for a heart that is inclined to be devoted to the study of My Word. Don’t allow personal conversations to keep you from it. Devote attention to the Bible study assignment between classes so that you can grow!)
D - Devoting ourselves to prayer (Instructor’s observation: You seem a little squeamish about praying aloud together, and you would rather the prayer leader doesn’t take too long, but you definitely want the “flavor” of a little dollop of prayer. There is room for improvement!)
        So…If we want to be the church of all-in Christ followers, if we want to be those who turn the world upside down for our Lord, if we truly want to learn and grow and enter in to what the Holy Spirit has for us, we might need to pay attention to the areas on our report card marked “Needs Improvement”!
        Don’t forget we will resume our midweek prayer and study times in August with Dave Shuey (8/2), Tom Fox (8/9), Church Family Potluck and Volleyball at Lehman Park (8/16), Dots in Blue Water (8/23) and on August 30 a kickoff for fall midweek with a delightfully fun presentation by comedy-illusionist Jim Barron.
       This fall, we have a full and varied schedule of teachers for the chapel. There will be a study group for women to dive in deep with Beth Moore in a Bible study of James. Lori Bailey will lead this 8-week study. We are planning a men’s group as well, with specific topic and plans TBA! We encourage you to be ready to jump in and see what the Lord wants to teach you and what He has for us as a church. †

 

Robert Rogers: Living a Life of No Regrets
On August 30, 2003, Robert Rogers, his wife Melissa and their four children were driving home from a wedding when they were caught in a flash flood. As an enormously powerful wall of water swept over their car, Robert and his family cried out in words they had memorized from Scripture, Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” Robert was swept away from his entire family. He was the only one who survived.
What must it feel like to lose your entire family, to be the only survivor, so alone, and so desperately sad? Have you ever wondered whether you can really trust God’s promises if the worst thing you can imagine happens to you?
        Robert’s testimony is a witness to what it looks like to trust God wholeheartedly, what it feels like to reach out and find God’s presence carrying you as you walk through the deepest waters. God continues to be his ever-present help as Robert clings to the promises of God and finds his refuge in Him.
Now Robert shares his story of God’s unwavering mercies and grace, in both word and song, and brings an inspiring word of challenge to audiences, encouraging them to live a life with no regrets, cherishing their loved ones and living life to the fullest.
Robert Rogers will be our speaker on Sunday evening, August 13, at 6:30 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Robert’s powerful testimony and to invite others who will be encouraged as well. †


Note of Appreciation
Dear church family,
Linda and I wish to thank you for your many prayers, cards, visits and other expressions of well-wishes during my time of treatment for prostate cancer.
We are very grateful and humbled to experience the grace of God that has been shown to us through each of you! It appears that God is blessing me with success in the defeat of my cancer, and we are, of course, very grateful for that. You are each a great blessing and, as a community of faith, you are the living embodiment of the song lyric: "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love."
Thank you and blessings to each of you!
Mic and Linda Hodson †


Among Our People

Twyla Sprunger had a hip replacement at Adams Memorial Hospital May 22. She was moved to rehab at Swiss Village May 25.

Carolee Nussbaum was admitted to Adams Memorial Hospital June 21 for tests. She returned home June 26. She was readmitted June 29 with pneumonia. July 7 she transferred to Swiss Village rehab.

Arleda Sorgen went to Adams Memorial Hospital June 26 for tests. She moved to Swiss Village rehab July 7.

Elsie Wulliman entered Adams Memorial Hospital July 7 with vertigo. She returned home July 9.

Doyle Lehman had a hip replacement at Parkview Hospital July 12. He moved to Woodcrest for rehab July 14. †


Home Going

Beverly A. Grandlinard, 89, Berne, passed away on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Swiss Village. She was born to Olin and Dorthea Kauffman Krehbiel on May 20, 1928 in Porterville, CA. She married Glen Grandlinard on April 30, 1955.
       In 1945, Beverly became a member of the First Mennonite Church where she was active in the music ministry. She played the piano and sang in the ladies' sextet and choirs. She was a former employee of Dunbar Furniture, Berne. She graduated from Bluffton College, Ohio. Bev assisted her husband with the farming and especially enjoyed driving the tractor. Her interests included caring for and riding horses, gardening, caring for her flowers, traveling and spending time with her family.
       Survivors include her husband, Glen; sons, Kevin Grandlinard of rural Bluffton, and Kris (Rhonda) Grandlinard of Berne; brother, Rev. Ronald (Cynthia Kirchhofer) Krehbiel of Hesston, KA; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
        Preceding in death are her parents and daughter, Lisa Grandlinard.
     A memorial service was Friday, July 14, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the First Mennonite Church with visitation one hour prior to the service. Visitation also Thursday at the Swiss Village Auditorium from 4 to 8 p.m. with Pastor Jerry A. Flueckiger officiating. Burial is in the Six-Mile Cemetery, rural Bluffton. †

 

Pastor Jerry Announces Retirement

After serving First Mennonite as a youth pastor for four years, an interim pastor for nearly two years and the visitation and care pastor for eight years, Pastor Jerry Flueckiger has announced his upcoming retirement. He graciously took the time to answer a few questions for the Update.
      How did you become a Christian? A combination of Christian nurture and union meeting response. I grew up in church: Sunday school, worship service, youth group and catechism. I went forward at one of the annual union meetings with Dr. Walker as the speaker while in high school.
How were you called to ministry? I felt called during school years. So I arranged for proper college courses and seminary training while still in high school.
What have you enjoyed most about working at First Mennonite?
• Working with dedicated volunteers—as youth pastor, interim pastor and visitation and care pastor.
• Having a variety of responsibilities and working with excellent staffs.
• Being able to have Bonnie work alongside me in ministry—has always happened, but more obvious this term.
• The music talents with which God has blessed First Mennonite.
• Much encouragement all along the way, especially these past 10 years.
When is your official retirement? December 31, 2017, if a replacement is not found. Sooner if someone comes on the scene.
What are you looking forward to about retirement? Not being on-call 24/7.
What are your future plans? One week of doing nothing. I am in conversation about a possible 2-day a week involvement (just checking).
How will you still be involved in the church? Teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, teaching on Wednesday night and playing accordion in the praise band.
What advice do you have for your successor? Delegate, delegate, delegate. Encourage volunteers. Listen before speaking; sometimes your presence is more important than trying to fix everything. Don’t try to fill anyone’s shoes but your own—things will be different and God can handle different.
Who is your successor? Only God knows and maybe the search committee has a clue as they seek His guidance. †