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This Month Issue
February 4, 2021

Scripture Reading

Psalm 147: 1-11
Mark 1: 29-39

Preacher
Rev. Nancy Mikoski

Liturgists

Rev. Casey Aldridge 
Matt Heisler
This Sunday worship includes communion.
Directions for preparing communion are on the worship online page.

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.

Link to pennpres.org

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.
If there is a weather issue that interferes with live streaming, look for an email with Zoom link information or other instructions. 

 
Morning Prayer:
"In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. As I turn to you this morning, God, bless me with a sense of purpose. As I go into this day, show me what I am to do. Amen."

Evening Prayer:
"Everlasting God, you have been here from the foundation of the earth. I give to you this day now ending, with all its gifts and failings. As I rest through the night, renew my strength and, in my dreams, lift me up on the wings of eagles. Amen."
 
From "Feasting on the Word Worship Companion Year B Volume 1", Kimberly Bracken Long, editor. WJK. Louisville. 2014

News . . .  Briefly


Several years ago, our family purchased our first artificial Christmas tree. I always loved going out to select a tree, and actually cutting one down when we could. The smell of pine is one of the great smells of Christmas. Unfortunately, I’m allergic either to the pollen that real trees carry with them or pine itself, so we had to make the big switch to an artificial tree. Practically, what it means, is that we can leave the tree up as long as we like without concern about it drying out to the point of being a fire hazard in our living room. Here we are now in February. I broached the subject with my family a couple of weeks ago. It went something like this. “Christmas was a month ago! It’s time to take down the tree.” The response was, “Why? It’s pretty. It makes me happy.”  “I like having it up. I like the lights in the living room when I’m up early in the morning.” The rhythm of that part of our celebration has been altered by having an artificial tree, and by our need during COVID time to have an extra measure of beauty and joy in our lives.
 
The world has a calendar that runs from January 1 to December 31. We mark times by the months and by things like the change in weather and the first and last days of school. We Christians have another calendar. We continue in the January through December world, but we actually live with a second calendar. We call it the liturgical calendar. This calendar helps to orient our lives by our encounter with God who shows up in history, in time. We are about to begin the Christian season of Lent. It is a time of preparation that culminates in Holy Week when we recall the transformative acts of Jesus that are the basis of our salvation. Lent invites us to an intentionality in our walk of faith lest we take Jesus and all he has done for us for granted. Lent invites us to acts of humility, to devotion in daily prayer, and to a willingness to follow where Christ leads us each day. At times the way of Christ is like a soothing balm that brings healing to our lives. The way of Christ is also a daunting challenge, requiring of us bold steps in a new and faithful direction as we embrace the values of the Kingdom of God even while we are living in the United States in the twenty-first century.
 
You are invited to live fully and intentionally in this Lenten season!
*Attend Ash Wednesday worship at 8:00 am on February 17 over zoom.
*Set aside a few minutes each day to use the Lenten devotional the church is mailing you.
*Join in worship each Sunday as we study the book of Philippians, discovering more about Christ and living as Christians in the world. Worship will be at 10:15 but can also be accessed on our website at other times during the week.
*Begin your Wednesday mornings with Devotions with Communion at 8:00 am over zoom (Feb. 24 – March 24)
*Dig deeper in your faith through an Adult Education Class and help your children and youth to participate in our ministries, too.
*Participate in a Lenten course on Sunday evenings about The Iliad and Christian life, or in a small group gathering to learn more about our new Matthew 25 ministry, or the Thursday afternoon Racial Equity study group.
*Attend a special Lenten Hymn Workshop over zoom that is being sponsored by our music ministry.
*Support the great work of the Spirit in our community and world by donating diapers, food, and personal care products.
*Give a special donation to One Great Hour of Sharing to help with COVID relief and disaster assistance in our country and around the world.
*Pray for our church family and reach out with love and care to those you haven’t seen or spoken with for some time.
*Ask God to guide us as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, sharing his transforming love right here and right now.
*Put Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday Worship on your calendar now, making them the priority. (April 1,2, and 4)
 
Time is precious. May this Lent give each of us a way to experience time in relationship to what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do in the future!

 
Nancy
 

The young Presbyterians of Sunday Night Central would like to invite you this week to help "tackle" hunger in our community. They've created a special video for you, which we have shared by email (on Tuesday) with those who have a current email listed in our church family directory. (This is because of our child safety policies that limit what we share about our younger church family members.)
 
Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest food day in America every year, but every year millions of Americans go hungry this weekend. This year, in particular, more than 50 million Americans are considered food insecure, meaning that they cannot know for sure where their next meal will come from.
 
The Souper Bowl — note the difference in spelling — is a decades-old tradition that churches across our country take part in, raising non-perishable food items and personal care items for those who are food insecure. We want to support the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry, formed last March to serve local food-insecure families during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their video, our Sunday Night Central youth call us to serve. 
 
What do I bring? Canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned meats, breakfast cereals/bars, shelf-stable milk, cooking oil, household products, and/or personal care products.
 
Where do I bring it? To the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry drop-off at the HVRSD Administration Building (425 S. Main Street, Pennington).
 
When do I bring it by? Super Bowl Sunday (February 7, 2021).
 
What else? Wear your team's football jersey (or other sports paraphernalia) and have someone take a photo or take a selfie of you dropping off food that we can share with SNC, and show them how you showed up! Send photos to Pastor Casey at casey@pennpres.org.

 
The PPC Mission, Peacemaking, and Justice Committee recently received requests from The Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry and Arm in Arm for assistance. There is a continuing great need for food, household items, and diapers in our local community. Many families have been impacted by COVID-19 and food is a necessity for these families. Please consider donating nutritious food, necessary household products like laundry detergent, and diapers (especially larger sizes.) Please leave food and household items at the reception entrance from the courtyard and between the double glass doors. If it is easier, you may drop off diapers in the large bins on the church steps. The need continues throughout the year so please make support of these organizations and needs an ongoing habit within your means.
 
You may also contribute directly to both organizations.
 

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:


The Legacy Circle is an initiative of Pennington Presbyterian specifically tailored to recognize, celebrate and thank past, present, and future members and friends who have or intend to remember this church in their planned giving, thereby supplementing the church’s endowment to provide ministry to future generations.

Dear Legacy Circle Member,
 
For over 300 years, God has blessed the Pennington Presbyterian Church with a faithful, generous congregation. You expressed your thanks for the blessings God has bestowed by joining Pennington Presbyterian Church’s Legacy Circle.
 
For the past two years, we have honored Legacy Circle members with a luncheon on the first Sunday in February immediately after the worship service. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the subsequent limitations on public gatherings, this year’s luncheon will not occur. We pray that we can restart this tradition next year. In the interim, we hope that this letter of thanks expresses our gratitude for your current and future generosity. We look forward to the day when we worship together and break bread in our beloved sanctuary.
 
May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
 
John Coats
Treasurer

 
2021 College Care Package
 
In years past the Deacons’ Heart Tree allowed the PPC congregation to sponsor Care Packages that were delivered to our young-adult members who were attending college, working from home or working elsewhere.  This year, due to COVID-19, there will be no Heart Tree, so we ask for your help by making monetary donations either by check or by using the Donate Now button at the top of the PennPres.org website. Please make sure you write “College Care Package” on the check memo line or in the Donate Now Notes section. Your donations will be used to buy food items and gift cards as well as to offset the cost of shipping.  All donations are due by Sunday, Feb. 7, so that we can purchase the items, package, and ship.  Please contact Ron Russell or Kathy Pietras with your questions.

From Hope Anderson, Director of PPNS:
Pennington Presbyterian Nursery School is beginning registration for the 2021-2022 school year on February 1st.  Next year is our 60th anniversary and we are grateful to everyone from our church who has helped and supported us through this difficult year.  Special thanks to John Coats, Pam Paluzzi, Liz Coats, Nancy Mikoski and the PPNS Board.
 
If you are interested in receiving the school's registration packet, please contact Hope Anderson at hopeanderson.ppns@gmail.com.  I am able to provide tours of the school in the afternoon when our children and teachers have left for the day.  We have strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place which prohibit visitors while classes are in session. 
 
You can also visit our school website - www.ppnschool.org - for info about PPNS and registration forms.

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 First Baptist Church of Pennington
  • For our new government that they may serve us all well and faithfully
  • Our healthcare workers 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 (1); Hal Wittlinger's wife Marilyn and his family (2); 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) Melanie is at home and recovering.  
(2) Hal died on January 30, and his memorial service over Zoom was on February 3. 

 
Pray for Our Church Family ...
We pray each week for those listed alphabetically in our church family directory. This week: Andy, Melanie, Gabe, and Sophia Parsons; Kelsey Pedersen and Chris Rosenberger; Kurt, Colleen, Ryan, and Morgan Pedersen; Bob Peeck; and Wendy Pfeffer.

Let Us Bless Those Who Are "Always Practicing" and Putting Their Christianity in Action (a story shared by Barb Sergeant)
"I was shoveling snow [during the storm] and a car stopped and a man got out, put on a mask, got a snow shovel out of his car and started to help me. I have no idea who he was. When I thanked him and said how kind it was, he said he was a Christian and he was always practicing. I think that's so special."


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 as We Observe Black History Month ... 
Our Heavenly Lord,
"We humble ourselves and cry out to you in the hope that you will hear us and heal us. We lift the communities of Louisville, Minneapolis, Georgia’s Glynn County, and all where racialized violence has occurred and unrest has been stirred. Holy God, we recall the words of (our ancestor) Dr. King, who reminded us that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” Open our hearts, minds, and understanding to your movement in the margins, so that when your people speak, they are indeed heard, and when they tell the truth about your deeds of power, they are not dismissed as something other than sober and of a clear mind. In this way, let the fires of uprising give way to the fires of your Spirit, where your people hear the Good News of your kin-dom, hear it with joy, and make haste to take part in it. Let us release our attachment to our current world order and walk bravely into the world you’ve intended for us, even and especially when it costs us something." Help us to be ever ".. mindful that, as the Rev. Dr. Cornel West states, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen

Excerpt from a longer "A Prayer in a Time of Anger, Unrest and Injustice" found at PresbyterianMission.org.


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 our website or on Zoom (contact the church office to receive links to worship over Zoom or by telephone)
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

Wednesday's During Lent
8:00 am - Morning devotional with communion on Ash Wednesday and Wednesdays 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, Racial Equity Discussion Group (formerly the Wednesday afternoon group) following Eddie Moore Jr's "21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge."  Contact Nancy Schluter.

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