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Pastor’s Pen - January 2019

I recently came across a poem - ‘Ring Out, Wild Bells’ - written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It’s a poem about overcoming the grief of the past and ushering in a bright, new world. ‘Ring out the old and ring in the new!’; a beautiful take on welcoming a new year.

‘Ring out the grief that saps the mind…Ring in redress to all mankind’
‘Ring out false pride in place and blood…Ring in the common love of good.’
‘Ring out the thousand wars of old…Ring in the thousand years of peace.’
‘Ring out the darkness of the land…Ring in the Christ that is to be.’

I’m sure we all have aspects of life that we are hoping to ring out as 2018 draws to a close. We ring out grief over the loss of loved ones; ring out the anxiety caused by cancer diagnosis and illness; ring out anger over callous immigration policy and petulant politics; ring out the pain caused by violence in our own community and throughout our nation and world.

I wish it were so simple. Ring it out and be done with it. Let all of that brokenness be healed and the memory of it all fade into the distance along with the sound of the bells. If only…

Much of the past year is sure to stay with us into the coming year and beyond. We will still carry grief, still live with anxieties, still have anger and pain fueled by new tragedy and disfunction. Our lives are not simply made right with the toll of a bell.

It’s when I can’t ‘ring it all out’ that I am most thankful for community, particularly our community of faith. I give thanks for people who see grief and respond with embrace and shared tears. I give thanks for people who see distress and respond with giving, with prayers, with letters and words of encouragement.

As this year draws to a close, I’m ever thankful for this community of faith that seeks to ring out the brokenness of this world and ring in all that is good. Together we ring in new life (a sound that will be particularly meaningful to my family very soon!), new faith, and new members to our community! We work to ring in continued hope for a world made well and at peace! We work to ring in justice for the oppressed, food for the hungry, and equity for the marginalized! So much of ringing out and ringing in cannot be done alone, and I am so very thankful for a community that seeks to do these things together.

Ring out the old and ring in the new!

Blessings for your new year!

Rev. Will

Sunday School
Held every Sunday at 9:30am in Room 13.
Children & Youth Sunday school meets during worship.

Join a Team
Team meetings are Sunday, January 6th after church.   Please consider getting involved!

Tai Chi for Health
Resumes Mondays, at 6pm, in the fellowship hall. Free, open to the community.  Suitable for all levels and can be done seated. Call Cynthia Mealer for further details or questions at 833-1746.

PW Day & Night Circles
The Day Circle will meet Tuesday, January 8, at 10am, in the library.  Rev. Will is leading the discussion on Chapter 4.  The Night Circle will meet at the home of Nancy Walker located at 294 Richbriar St.

Wednesday Night Dinner
Please join us for dinner at 6pm in the Fellowship Hall on January 9th and 23rd.  There is a sign up sheet in the narthex or feel free to email the office.

Singers and choristers, now hear this!
Come and experience the hippest choir around, and hang with some excessively groovy people!!  Join us every Wednesday, at 7:30pm, in the sanctuary.

Sausage Biscuits
The Formation Team will be offering sausage biscuits (and plain biscuits) for sale to raise funds for the annual St. Luke's Christmas Dinner.  They will be offered Sunday, January 13th and will cost $3.00.  Your support is greatly appreciated!

Session Meeting
Will meet after worship on January 13, to receive new members.

Saturday Supper
On Saturday, January 19h, come serve at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on Highland @ Mynders. Plan to stay from about 3:00 pm to about 5:30 pm. Call Susan Baldwin with questions 605-7704.

Knitting Group
Will meet January 20th, at 2pm, here at the church.

Book and Movie Group
We will watch Being There on  January 24.  Dinner at 6, then the movie.  Judy Young will lead the discussion.  I need a volunteer for dessert, please.

Our book for February is The Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg.  Pat Patterson will lead the discussion.  I will order the books in time to have them on the January movie night.  Please let me know if you want one.

SuperLo & Kroger Cards
Please see Shelley Gray after worship each Sunday to sign up for the Rewards programs.  Our last quarter Kroger rewards totaled $296.74!  This is a $240.00 increase from the previous quarter!!!

Mustard Seed
Don't forget to stop by the store after worship.
Food Pantry
At this time, regular size cans of pork & beans and baked beans are needed.
Please remember Shady Grove in your will.
MICAH’s January Meetings
The Education Task Force will meet Monday, January 7, from 6-7:30pm, at Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies located at 2181 Union Ave., Memphis,  38104.  

The Immigration and Intercultural Equity Task Force will meet the same day and time at The Commons on Merton located at 258 North Merton St., Memphis,  38112.

The monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 8, at Beth Sholom Synagogue located at 6675 Humphreys Blvd.

The Youth Kickoff Council will meet Sunday, January 20, from 4-6pm at Lindenwood Christian Church located at 2400 Union Ave.

Shady Grove Presbyterian Church
5530 Shady Grove Road, Memphis, Tennessee
Annual Congregational Meeting
December 16, 2018
The Session decided at its November 12, 2018 meeting to call a Congregational Meeting for December 16, 2018.  Notice of this meeting was included in church bulletins on December 2nd and 9th.  Notice was also included in the church newsletters of December 7th and 14th.
Opening prayer - Rev. Will Christians opened the meeting with prayer at 11:36 AM.  Congregants were provided copies of the agenda, the Table of Contents of the Manual of Administrative Operations, a Budget Analysis for 2019, and the Terms of Call for 2019.
Declaration of Quorum – Curt Wilson, the Clerk of Session, determined that a quorum was present.
Manual of Administrative Operations - Rev. Christians made the congregation aware that a Manual of Administrative Operations had been developed by the session in compliance with the Book of Order.  He highlighted some of the more important sections including the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Child and Youth Protection Policy, and the Designated Gift Policy.  In reference to the Designated Gift Policy, Rev. Christians explained that per Internal Revenue Service regulations gifts designated for individuals or a specific individual are not tax deductible; however, gifts to the Benevolence Fund for distribution by the session would be deductible.  A copy of the Manual of Administrative Operations is available in the church office and is on the church’s website.
Election of Ruling Elders - The Congregation Nominating Committee placed the following members in nomination to serve as Ruling Elders:  Matt Noe, Rodney Rastall, and John Rutkauskas to be reelected to serve a second term; Tom Walsh who has previously served; and Brook Harmon to serve her first term.  The congregation was given an opportunity to make other nominations.  There were no additional nominations and the slate of candidates was approved unanimously.
Election of Nominating Committee - The Congregation Nominating Committee placed the following members in nomination to serve on the Committee for 2019:  Jeanine Akers, Tom Walsh, Janet Bartosch, and Kay Erickson for reelection, and Nancy Walker.  The congregation was given an opportunity to make additional nominations, but none were made.  The slate of candidates was approved unanimously.
Introduction of 2019 Budget - Curt Wilson presented the 2019 budget to the congregation.  He explained that the budget process started in mid-October when Angie Wagner, the Office Manager/Bookkeeper, with the assistance of Rev. Christians and session team leaders, submitted an initial budget for consideration.  This budget was carefully reviewed by the session and was approved as amended at its December 10, 2018 session meeting. 
Curt indicated to the congregation that this was a “bare bones” budget which did not include employee raises.  Projected revenue of $351,100 and projected expenses of $378,600 resulted in a net loss of $27,500 before consideration of $20,000 reimbursement from a gift designated to fund the Children’s and Youth Director positions.  An additional $7,500 would be drawn from the Claire Worthington Fund to result in a balanced budget.
Curt also pointed out that for the budget to be balanced it would require pledge income in the amount of $320,000 and that as of December 14, 2018 pledges totaling $292,357 had been received or $27,643 short of the goal.  The session had decided to approve the budget as submitted with the idea that it would be reviewed at the end of the first quarter of 2019 to determine whether adjustments should be made.
Emile Bizot questioned whether the use of $7,500 from the Claire Worthington Fund was appropriate as this was a gift designated to fund Sunday School.  Curt explained that this amount was intended to cover $2,000 for Children’s Programs & Supplies, $2,000 for Youth Programs & Supplies, and $3,500 for Youth Montreat Scholarships.  The session felt that use of money from the Claire Worthington Fund for these expenses was consistent with the intent of the gift.  This money was from interest generated by fund investments and did not affect principal.
Approval of Rev. Will’s Terms of Call for 2019 – Rev. Will left the room as the terms of his call were reviewed with the congregation.  Curt Wilson explained that the Personnel Committee had carefully reviewed the 2019 budget and felt that it would be poor stewardship to recommend a pay increase with a deficit budget.  The recommendation of the Personnel Committee to the session was not to increase Will’s salary or housing allowance.  The session concurred with this recommendation.  Although the salary, housing, and study allowance remain unchanged, there were some reductions in the total.  Recalculation of the self-employment tax caused a reduction in the cost of benefits such that the total of $89,586 is actually less than the total from 2018 of $92,929, a saving of $3,343.  There was no discussion and the terms of Rev. Will’s call were approved as submitted.  Curt advised the congregation that the session had awarded staff bonuses in the amount of 2% of salary from the 2018 budget.
Motion to Adjourn – Rev. Will returned to the sanctuary, received a motion and second to adjourn, and the motion passed.
Closing Prayer – Rev. Will closed the congregational meeting with prayer at 11:52 AM.

Prayer List

Prayers for Healing and Wholeness
Ann Miller
Gloria Zotkiewicz
Carol Bizot
Claudia Rutkauskas
Sandra and Ned Smith
Avalon and Sonny Robinson
Laura Flippin
Teresa Robinson
Steve Alsobrook
Janet Baldwin (Susan Baldwin’s mother)
Chuck Cambell (Friend of Sonny and Avalon)
Anges Sanders (Avalon’s sister)
Jane Sohm (Sarah Strong’s mother)
George and Darlene Gray (Nancy Gray)
Sandy Smith (Ned and Sandra Smith)
Polly Heimburg
Lynn Douglas (Shelley Gray)
DeAnn Pace (Ann Miller)
Rosalind Walker (Ann Miller)
Amy Waddell (Ann Miller)
Marie Johnson
Sharon Harrison
Bill Christians (Rev. Will's father)
Gaye Hazel (Angie Wagner's aunt)
Shelley Gray
Darrell Willis (Carolyn King's friend)

Prayers for the grieving
Mark Swenson and family (Carolyn King's in-law's family)

Prayers for Peace and Comfort
Meredith Walsh and Kyle Tingley
Bill Tracer
Ethan King

Prayers for the Human Condition
All affected by gun violence
Immigrant communities and families seeking asylum
Copyright © 2019 Shady Grove Presbyterian Church, All rights reserved.

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