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Pennington Presbyterian Church
February 18, 2021

Scripture Reading

Act 16:1-10
Philippians 1:1-11


Preacher
Rev. Nancy Mikoski
"From a Place of Isolation"

Liturgists

Rev. Casey Aldridge
Dr. Christine James
The Sunday worship service is planned as a live stream broadcast from the sanctuary, beginning at 10:15 am. You may connect through our online worship page off our home page.

pennpres.org

But, as we have experienced for several weeks now, be on the lookout that we might need to change the venue. Please look for an email from the church office and for the Sunday worship newsletter. (For security reasons, the Zoom link is not published, but if you've received the link for the last several weeks, you should know that we are using the same connections for any Sunday in 2021 when we need to use Zoom.)


How to access worship by telephone is communicated directly to our seniors. If you need this information, contact the church office at office@pennpres.org.

If the video player and your browser do not work well together, consider rebooting your computer and/or Internet connection.

 
"God of ancient covenants, your steadfast love and faithfulness are still new every morning. I thank you that I can begin this day in the confidence of your abiding love and unending mercy. Help me to treat others--family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and even strangers-- with love and mercy in our encounters today. When I disappoint or am discordant, help me to show love to others. Open my eyes to the places, people, and circumstances in which your kingdom has come near. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen."

(from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion Year B Volume 1. Kimberly Bracken Long, ed. WJK Press. Louisville. 2014)
The Lenten worship series is from
The Letter of Paul to the Philippians.

 

News . . .  Briefly
  • If you missed it, we invite you to go back to the Feb 4 This Month issue of this newsletter and review the Pastor's Thoughts from Rev. Mikoski. She invites you to participate in Lent actively and shares a general schedule.
  • We are now in the Season of Lent, and we will hold Wednesday Morning Lenten Devotions with Communion on February 24, and March 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 8:00 am. Worship will be led by a member of the clergy and a layperson from PPC. If you want to participate in communion, please prepare in advance. (While we will use the same link as we did for Ash Wednesday, for your convenience we will send an email on Tuesdays before these Zoom services to church family members who've provided that information to the church office.)
  • You should have received a special mailing from the church office with a devotional, prayer aid, a schedule for Lenten worship including how to prepare communion at home, the One Great Hour of Sharing brochure and envelope, and the Easter flower order form. 
  • Please continue to support our neighbors who are food insecure. You may deliver your donations to the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry at the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Administration Building at 425 S. Main Street, Pennington, NJ 08534, or you may also leave your donation on the cart in the vestibule between the double glass doors off the courtyard at the church. (Please avoid glass containers and no expired food.) The need has always been great but the pandemic is deepening that need. 
  • Rev. Dr. Gordon Mikoski's study of The Iliad from a biblical perspective begins on Sunday at 7 pm on Zoom. The link will be emailed to you on Friday. There is still time to sign up, order the book and do your homework. Learn more below.
  • The Older Adult Ministry has an interesting 'Brown Bag' program that relates to today's headlines. This event will take place on February 19 at 1 pm over Zoom or by telephone. Read more below. Reserve through office@pennpres.org or at 609-737-1221, extension 10 so you may receive the link or phone number. Guests from the community are welcome but ask them to register with the church office.
  • A new opportunity to learn during Lent: Hymns as Devotionals. Our Music Ministry is offering a workshop with Slats Toole over Zoom on Feb. 25, Thursday, 7:30-9:00 pm. Learn more below. Reserve through the church office. 
  • A Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, February 28 immediately following worship. Both the service and the meeting will be held on Zoom and the congregation will receive the link that morning in an email from the church office. (Learn more about the plans for this meeting below.) It is the same link we've been using for Sunday worship due to bad weather.
  • A link to the annual report will be sent out this weekend so you may review it to be reminded just how full the year has been and how well the church family has adapted many traditions to virtual activity.
  • Our fellow Americans continue to die from COVID-19 in shockingly large numbers daily. Deaths will reach the 500,000 level soon. We have chosen next Thursday, February 25 at 5:00 pm for a prayer circle with bells. This will be a masked and physically distanced event. It is important that we remember and mourn.
  • The Thursday Afternoon Inequity Study Group is going strong and shares a special invitation written by Rev. Nancy Schluter. Please consider joining over Zoom at 2 pm. The group members are growing in knowledge and deepening their faith, and are looking forward to sharing the journey with you. The group is open to both men and women.
  • Learn about the World Day of Prayer that we will celebrate on March 5 this year.
  • All child, youth, and adult Christian Education programs continue over Zoom. See the recurring schedule at the end of this newsletter.
  • For youth programs, please contact Rev. Casey Aldridge, or if you are already registered, look for his emails.
  • If weather becomes an issue affecting power or travel, anticipate that you will be sent a newsletter or email with updated information. We will also post on the PPC Facebook page. You may also call Rev. Nancy Mikoski's extension at the church to hear the update in the outgoing message: 609-737-1221, extension 14.

                                . . .  . with Communion
 
At 8:00 AM on Zoom -- a thirty-minute devotional

(Weekly devotional leader and clergy pairs)

Feb 24 Amy Pszczolkowski and Nancy Mikoski
Mar   3 Vicki Wheeler and Nancy Schluter
Mar 10 Sarah Gregg and Casey Aldridge
Mar 17 Joe Tully and Jean Pinto
Mar 24 Cary Bruestle and Miriam Diephouse McMillan

 



An Invitation to Join the Thursday Inequity Study Group
 
How many of you have noticed the number of personal stories, news accounts or brief videos of people in our country who cannot manage the many challenges of this past year with COVID19? Heartbreaking stories! Children failing in school because they do not have access to a computer. Or, a parent having to continue working because of the financial need, in spite of exposure to the virus? Inequalities! Injustices! Who decides who is 'the least of these"?
 
These are great questions and we have a great group of dedicated, interested members who gather weekly on Thursday afternoons over Zoom at 2 PM to learn and discuss current events behind these great questions and to also probe the history of the many inequities and inequalities plaguing our country. How have they developed in this country, founded as the land of the free? Recent discussions have focused on a variety of people (Fred Douglass, Cicely Tyson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg) and a variety of books like Hillbilly Elegy as we examined the inequities affecting both black and white. Recently we have looked at scriptural passages on the topic of slavery, which Frederick Douglass highlighted so effectively as an abolitionist in the 1840s and 50s to counter those who used scripture to justify slavery.
 
Do we only discuss........as good an exercise as that is? Not at all. We are committed to taking our expanding knowledge and understanding of the issues driving inequity and serving "the least of these" in the community. Just one example: Madeleine Mansier opted to serve on a committee in Hopewell Township dealing, broadly speaking, with issues of discrimination or racial biases locally. She felt compelled to put her faith into action! She and l share leadership for this Thursday Inequity Study Group......do consider joining! All are welcome.....and "all" includes men.

Nancy Schluter

 

Homer’s Iliad in Biblical Perspective: A Lenten Journey
 
Two books have exerted massive influence on the development of Western cultures: The Bible and Homer’s Iliad. Homer’s epic poem recounts the events that take place over a few short days in the ninth year of a decade-long war between the Greeks and the Trojans. More often endured than appreciated, Homer’s masterpiece raises basic questions about the meaning of human life, how that life should be lived, and what we should think about those with whom we profoundly differ. Christians have read and reflected upon Homer’s achievement almost from the beginning of church history because it offers a treasure chest of insights and lessons that can be compatible with the Christian life. This course will read through the Iliad over the course of the six Sundays of Lent with an eye toward engaging issues that help us to interpret the Bible and to live as committed Christians in today’s society. The class will meet Sunday evenings 7:00-8:00 p.m. through Zoom. The leader, Rev. Dr. Gordon S. Mikoski, will use Lattimore’s translation of the Iliad, but any modern translation will work. The class will involve reading four chapters or books of the work per week. Participants should come to the first class session having read Books 1-4. To register for this free Lenten course, please send an email to office@pennpres.org.
 

 
Older Adult Ministry
'Brown Bag' over Zoom at 1:00 PM on February 19


"The Pandemic and Hopewell Valley Schools: Challenge, Response, and Lessons Learned" with Guest Speaker Dr. Thomas A. Smith, Superintendent of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District

 
Our special guest speaker will make a brief presentation and answer our questions. The program is offered by the Older Adult Ministry Committee as part of its well-established Brown Bag Lunch Program series. This program is designed to inform those who do not have connections with the school system about the ways in which the schools grappled with the pandemic over the past year to maximize both learning and safety. Please contact the church office to register and receive the Zoom link. And please notify your friends who are not members of the congregation about this special opportunity. The program is open to the entire HV community. Attendees will gather beginning at 12:45 on February 19. The one-hour program will begin promptly at 1. (Those who do not use a computer or smartphone may participate by telephone. Just have them call the church office and leave their name and phone number: 609-737-1221, extension 10)
 
Hymns as Devotionals: a workshop with Slats Toole
Thursday, February 25, 2021
7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. EST
via Zoom
 
Please join us for a special workshop with Slats Toole!  Slats will lead us in an interactive exploration of hymns.  Most often, hymns are music that we all sing together.  Among other things, they help us remember that we experience Christianity in community.  Hymns can still do that even when we can't sing them together in exactly the same way.  Slats will teach us ways of creating devotional practices for ourselves with hymns.  Together, we will explore how we can use this music to take us spiritually through different seasons in our year and in our lives. Register through the church office.
 
For more information on Slats, please visit their website:

A Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, February 28, immediately following worship. Both the service and the meeting will be held on Zoom and the congregation will receive the link that morning in an email from the church office. 
 
On the Agenda:  receiving the annual report and celebrating our ministry in 2020, hearing updates about our year-end financials from 2020 and the budget for 2021, electing a Nominating Committee, and sharing inspiration from our Matthew 25 Task Force.
 
The Annual Report will be available in the week prior to this meeting. (1)  Everyone is encouraged to read the report in advance of our meeting. It will allow all of us to get a big picture view of how the Spirit has been at work in us and through us in this most unusual time.

(1) We will distribute a Google Doc link to the report and the Zoom link by a special email to those listed with an email in the church family directory. This is to keep information private to the congregation.
 

 
World Day of Prayer – March 5, 2021
 
Every year hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children from 170 countries around the world participate in worship, service, and celebration on the first Friday of March (this year, March 5) to promote justice and equality. Pennington Presbyterian Church has been an active participant in World Day of Prayer for many years. This year, given the pandemic, each of us is encouraged to set aside a time on this special day for our own personal prayers for peace, justice and equality.
 
Each year one country takes the lead in this global effort. This year that country is Vanuatu, a
South Pacific Ocean nation made up of about 80 mountainous islands. Bislama, English and French are the official languages. Seventy percent of the people are Protestant, with a significant portion of them being Presbyterian. Vanuatu is considered to be the country with the highest risk of natural disaster. Its worst disaster ever, Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015, did serious damage to the country’s important tourism industry. Vanuatu would appreciate our prayers for its people and for the entire world.


Let's Celebrate a New Eagle Scout
 
Ted Borer shared the good news that Connor King is Troop 44's latest Eagle Scout. He's the 89th scout to earn Eagle in our troop and did a fantastic job in his Eagle Board of Review, pictured below. He is a young man of deep integrity and is fully worthy of the rank. Connor's Eagle project was planning and leading the construction of a summer camp dock. His parents are very active supporters of the scouting program and his siblings are also involved. Congratulations to Connor, his family, the scouting volunteers throughout his scouting career for reaching this notable milestone. 

Pray for our Community ...
  • Our neighbors at the St. Matthew's Episcopal Church of Pennington
  • All Americans impacted by extreme weather and facing deprivation and danger, most notably in Texas and North Carolina
  • Our healthcare workers, essential workers, and teacher who are doing heroic work as the pandemic continues to rage
  • All those suffering from COVID19 or who have lost family and friends to COVID
  • All those developing, approving, manufacturing, transporting, receiving, and  administering the COVID19 vaccines and therapeutics so that this pandemic may be controlled and lives can be saved
  • All those suffering the many forms of insecurity due to COVID19 and all those who are helping locally and throughout the world
Continue to Pray for …
Nancy Russell (1); Hal Wittlinger's wife Marilyn and his family; Galen Meyer and his family; Edna Neu; Barb Sergeant; Jean Cooper's family and friends; Ruth Morewood's family; Evelyn Marion Keneman; Virginia Silliphant; Don Trismen; Edna Stout; Robin Hepburn; Elsa and Charles Koczan; Bob Macek; Shirley Norton; Corinne Beyer; Bill Sherman; Marji McAvoy; Marge Ryan; David Anderson; Michael Berkowitz; Karen Kelly; Dawn Cocco; Bob Fletcher; Caroline Woodward; Jayne and Jay Neary; and all families who are grieving and lonely.


(1) Recovering from foot surgery
 
Pray for Our Church Family ...
We pray each week for those listed alphabetically in our church family directory. This week: Jeff and Ethel Renoe; Scott, Cynthia, Sara, and Matthew Ricker; Jim and Cheryl Rigel; Velta Roberts; Cassie Robinson and Jaelyn McIntosh

Pray for the People of the World …
Please continue praying for the world. All nations are being impacted by the pandemic, on top of the daily universal challenges that include climate change, and economic, food, and physical insecurity. Let us also pray for our Living Waters for the World partners in the Yucatan. 


Here is a special prayer to prepare for World Day of Prayer:

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it: a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor; ... a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love. Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Chain ... 
Contact Nancy Lehman to request prayers. She will distribute the request to the PPC's Prayer Chain. If you want to use a telephone, please call Barbara Pratt.

 
 


Recurring Schedules at a Glance

It's never too late to sign up for any Christian Education, Youth Group, or other repeating events. You may send an email to office@pennpres.org to be put in contact with the program leader.
 
Sunday Schedule
9:00-10:00 am - Adult Education: Bible and Theology on Zoom
9:15-9:45 am Age 3 - Grade 4 Church School and Music with Mr. Phil on Zoom
10:15 am  Worship via live stream connected through our website (pennores.org) or on Zoom (contact the church office to receive links to worship over Zoom or by telephone) Communion is part of worship on the first Sunday of every month.
11:30 am - Virtual Coffee Hour on the first Sunday of the month (Find the link on the online worship page.)
11:30-12:30  Grades 5-8 Church School on Zoom
11:30 - 12:30 Grades 9-12 Church School on Zoom
6:30-7:30 pm Sunday Night Central Youth Group (grades 5-8) on Zoom

Wednesdays During Lent
8:00 am - Ash Wednesday Worship and Lenten Wednesday Morning devotional with communion until Holy Week
(Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 3, March 10, March 17, and March 24 -- Information about how to connect will be in your Lenten package from the church and also in a reminder email on February 16.) (Holy week worship will be shared in the March issue of This Month and special emails. Be on the lookout.)

Youth Group Events 
Please contact Rev. Casey Aldridge, Youth Minister, if you are interested in programs for young people in middle-school and high-school. Registered youth and their parents will receive an invitation to Church School and youth activities with the link to a Zoom meeting or other information about the activities or events.

Weekday Christian Education and Fellowship Events
Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 am, Shalom (a women's study group) on Zoom) Contact Madeleine Mansier if you are interested in joining. 

Thursdays, 2:00 - 3:00 pm, The Inequity Study Group (formerly known as the Racial Equity Discussion Group) All are welcome. Contact Nancy Schluter.

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