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February 11, 2021

Scripture Reading

Psalm 50:1-6
Mark 9:2-9


Preacher
Matt Heisler
Seminary Intern

Liturgists

Rev. Nancy Mikoski
Rev. Casey Aldridge
The Sunday worship service will take place as a live stream broadcast from the sanctuary, beginning at 10:15 am, using YouTube. You will be able to connect to the 'broadcast' on the online-worship page. Begin at the home page of the website and use the link on the top right or below.

Link to pennpres.org

As we discovered last week, the weather may have its own plan, and we have a 'Plan B'. Look for the Sunday newsletter confirming the plans for a live stream or alerting you to a change. And, if there is a change, there will be an email with the link to the Zoom broadcast.

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.

 
Holy and mighty God, gather us among your faithful ones, the people of your covenant, to stand in the light of your glory and listen for the word of the Lord, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
 
From Feasting on the Word: Liturgies for Year B, Volume 1: Worship Companion. It is drawn from Psalm 50:1, 5 and Mark 9:7, page 87.

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. Lent begins next Wednesday, Ash Wednesday.
  • You will shortly receive a special mailing from the church office with a devotional, prayer aid, a schedule for Lenten worship including how to prepare ashes at home, the One Great Hour of Sharing brochure and envelope, and the Easter flower order form. 
  • Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent. You are invited to an 8 am worship over Zoom on the 17th. The link and additional information will be in your email on Tuesday, the 16th,  (If you have not been receiving emails from the church office and want to receive the Zoom link, please send your email to office@pennpres.org.)
  • The Lenten Wednesday Morning Communion and Devotions will occur over Zoom at 8 am on these dates: 2/24, 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, and 3/24. We will use the same link for all the Lenten Wednesday morning worship; you may find it in your Lenten package from the church office and your email on 2/16.
  • Please read the special invitation from the Matthew 25 group to participate in a fun project.
  • 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.
  • If the storm last weekend kept you from following through on your intent to support the Souper Bowl Sunday food drive to benefit the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry (new website and updated information), it is not too late to follow through.  You may take your donations directly to the food bank (Hopewell Valley Regional School District Administration Building at 425 S. Main Street, Pennington, NJ 08534) or 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. 
  • The Mission Committee shares some reminders and pleas for supporting those in need. Please read and consider.
  • The college student packages are in the mail. Ron Russell and Kathy Pietras are grateful for your help. See their note of thanks. If your young adult is receiving a package, you may want to remind him or her to be on the lookout.  
  • There is still time to sign up for the study of The Iliad from a biblical perspective with Rev. Dr. Gordon Mikoski on Sunday evenings during Lent. Learn more below, including the book you should acquire and the assignment for the first class. Please sign up through the church office. (You may join by telephone if you wish.)
  • 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.)
  • 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.

Be part of our Matthew 25 video!
 
The Matthew 25 Taskforce is working on a video for the congregational meeting on February 28 to celebrate PPC’s new journey as a Matthew 25 church. We want YOU to be part of this special presentation! It will take less than 15 minutes of your time – and no speaking required! All ages are encouraged to join, individuals and families! 
 
To participate please sign up here by Tuesday, February 16. We will then email directions to record a very brief video clip by Wednesday, February 24.
 
If you have questions, please contact Suzanne Elliott at suzanne_elliott@yahoo.com or 718-637-3774.

 



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

 
 
The Mission, Peacemaking and Justice Committee thanks the congregation for your faithful, generous, and continued support for our local and global community. 

The Peacemaking Offering on the 2020 World Wide Communion Sunday was $1,145.  As is customary, 75%, equal to $856.75, went to the New Brunswick Presbytery to be used by the wider denomination and the remaining 25%, equal to $268.25, went to the local Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry. 
 
Our Christmas offering was $2035.  The Mission committee sent $1,017.50 to Arm in Arm for their Utility Fund for needy families. This allows families in need to keep warm in the winter months to lessen the fear of utilities being turned off when families struggle to make payments. The committee designated $1,017.50 to go to Living Waters for the World, with equal parts ($254.38) going to each of our 4 water system partners in the Yucatan. These sums will help them purchase bottles to be used for water distribution or necessary repairs.

Your ongoing donations to the diaper drive for HomeFront is a blessing. This past week we delivered approximately 500 diapers! In case you're not aware, the diaper drive started in June 2020 and since then you have contributed and we have delivered over 12,000 diapers to HomeFront!  Let's see if we can do even more in 2021!!  Many families benefit from this effort.  Mothers need diapers for their children in order to use daycare and go to work or school so they may rebuild their families' lives. HomeFront truly appreciates all your assistance.

Volunteers from the Mission Committee will deliver your food donations to the local food bank. Please take advantage of specials at the local grocery stores. For example, while you may not need two of something, consider getting the 'buy 1/get 1 free' specials anyway to share one with the drive. (You may leave donations between the double glass doors off the courtyard.) It's a great way to expand our food donations! (Just a reminder: no glass containers and no expired food.)


The Mission Committee thanks you for your faithful, ongoing support of these crucial missions of Pennington Presbyterian Church.  

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:

 
2021 College Care Package
 
Kathy Pietras and I would like to thank everyone for your donations supporting the Deacons' 2021 College Care Packages. Kathy and I filled 24 boxes with food goodies, a Starbucks gift card, a few personal items (Kleenex, wipes, face masks) along with a personal note and Lenten devotionals.  All boxes were mailed before Valentine's Day.  Again, thanks for your generous donations.
 
Blessings to all,
Ron Russell

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.
Pray for our Community ...
  • Our neighbors at the Bethel AME Church of Pennington
  • That our governmental leaders may serve us all well and faithfully
  • 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 saved
  • All those suffering the many forms of insecurity due to COVID19 and all those who are helping
Continue to Pray for …
Melanie Parsons; 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.

 
Pray for Our Church Family ...
We pray each week for those listed alphabetically in our church family directory. This week: Kathy, Mike, Hannah, and Kaitlin Pietras; Rev. Jean and Rick Pinto; Barbara Pratt; Amy, Doug, Joel and Daniel Pszczolkowski; Scott and Cindy Reeder.

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. 

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.

 
Let us Pray in the Name of Jesus Christ ... 
Grant that I may be a blessing to others today and every day. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.

(Inspired by Source)


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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