See what’s happening here at Belle Valley Church!
Please keep up all the GREAT work of your ongoing support of canned goods and staples for the Mt. Carmel food pantry. There is always a need for basic food staples: peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned tuna & chicken, etc. Receptacles are in the foyer. Thank you all for your generosity!! We are continually amazed that the food collection containers fill up at least every 2 weeks!! The organizers of the Mt. Carmel Food Pantry have continually been showing their appreciation for our support of their pantry ministry!
If you’re able to serve BVPC by participating in a rotation of volunteers who help serve the needs of younger families at worship please contact Chris Tombaugh (882-8932) for details. Due to new state laws you are required to have easy to obtain state clearances at no cost. Those details and any training will be provided.
We are having a collection for our Church Kitchen:
foil, window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, Swiffer & supplies, Clorox wipes, dish soap, hand soap, etc. The collection receptacle is located in the foyer!
The Sunshine Group is collecting Children’s items (coloring books, fun books, socks, slippers, stuffed animals, dolls, rulers, cars & trucks, children’s jewelry and kids’ purses). Please call Patty Smolinsky (454-8005) for more info. (Collection bin is in the foyer on the coat rack.)
Currently focusing on paper products – paper plates, napkins, paper towels, disposable drinking cups & coffee cups, disposable soup bowls; etc. The collection receptacle is located in the church foyer!
Erie Otters Youth Fellowship Event: Feb. 29, 7pm @ The Erie Insurance Arena…Tickets are ½ price ($11.00). Plan to join us…all youth and families welcome! Rides/carpooling needed? Let Pastor Dave know. Otherwise meet at the Arena at 6:30pm in the ticket lobby. Please confirm your attendance with Pastor Dave! (397-1861)
Our next mission event will be serving the homeless lunch at the Upper Room Drop-In Center (St. Paul’s UCC, 11th & Peach, downtown) at 1pm on Feb. 23. Please join us in volunteering to prepare, serve and clean-up after the meal. If you are able to help, please contact Becky Nottingham (573-5476). We may also need volunteers to prep and donate desserts, if you can’t volunteer, so stay tuned for more details.
The year 2020 is the tenth anniversary of the Upper Northern Presbytery and Lake Erie Presbytery’s Partnership.
Sunday, February 9th – Come and hear Doug Ebert talk about his recent experience in Ghana during our regular worship service at 11:00 am.
Some History: The initial groundwork for the Ghana Mission Partnership began to be laid ten years ago this month – February, 2010. An initial delegation traveled from Lake Erie Presbytery to northern Ghana. In the months that followed it was the sense that God was leading Presbyterian leaders in both countries to establish a Partnership through which relationships in Christ could be built and a larger understanding of the global Christian Church could be encouraged.
Current activity: In October, 2019 a total of six people traveled to Ghana to continue the Partnership between the Upper Northern Presbytery, the Presbytery of Lake Erie and Chosen International Medical Assistance (ChosenIMA) of Erie. Lake Erie Presbytery has reached the goal of $25,000 to enhance the medical clinics in northern Ghana. This money has been matched by ChosenIMA. It is an exciting story!
Information that could be helpful to educate, connect and engage members in both presbyteries:
The Upper Northern Presbytery, Presbyterian Church, Ghana, spreads across the entire northern part of the country and includes about ¼ of the entire geographic land mass of Ghana. Togo is to the east; Burkina Faso to the north and Cote D’Ivoire to the west. Ghana includes about 24,000,000 people and geographically is the size of Oregon.
The Upper Northern Presbytery is composed of 108 congregations divided into 7 districts:
Bimbila District – 17 congregations
Katiejeli District – 9 congregations
Saboba District – 19 congregations
Tamale/Najong District – 10 congregations
Bolgatanga District – 5 congregations
Chereponi District – 17 congregations
Yendi District – 31 congregations
Presbytery Moderator – Rev. Vincent Dagadu
Presbytery Communicator – Ruling Elder Tony Atsu
Ghana Missions Support Shea Butter Workshop Opportunity: You are invited to the Shea Butter Workshop! Led by the “Bethel Belles” at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cranesville. You will learn how the raw shea butter is processed in Ghana and how to make a variety of shea butter products. The workshop will prepare you plan a shea butter activity with a group of friends or a group in your congregation. We have plenty of shea butter! Donations from the shea butter products support Maternal and Child healthcare provided by the E.P Church Wapuli Clinic in Northern Ghana. The workshop will be held Sat. Feb. 29th, 10am-12pm, at the Bethel Presbyterian Church, 8990 Crane Rd, Cranesville 16410. Bring a bag lunch. Contact Linda Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org, 273-0747, if you wish to attend.
“Labors of Love”: To commemorate the 50th Anniversary in 2019 of medical missions and service, CHOSEN is partnering with the Presbytery of Lake Erie and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana in a new endeavor called “Labors of Love”. The goal of “Labors of Love” was to raise $50,000 that will be invested in the four Health Clinics to increase and improve healthcare services to the women, children, and communities that they serve in the upper north where hospitals are few and far in travel distance over rough terrain. Each of the Health Clinics has specific needs for getting to the next level of development. These include building construction, renovations, equipment, supplies, infrastructure, potable water, sanitation, staff training and support. Labors of Love Update: The presbytery has received $25,551.73 for the four Health Clinics in Ghana. Please keep up your faithful giving. To make a donation, contact the Presbytery office for more details: 814-868-4891.
The Pastor’s Searchlight—February, 2020:
There is a story about a new couple in love. They were in a long-distance relationship and the girl at the last minute demanded that her boyfriend jump on the next plane to get to her in time for Valentine’s Day. The man was terrified of flying and had never been on a plane before, so this was something of a test of his love. Well, he did it he booked the plane and with trembling hands got on the plane. He was on a charter flight in a 3 engine Lockheed TriStar. They were about half-way into his flight when their pilot’s voice came over the intercom, “This is your captain speaking. Ladies and gentlemen, I feel I ought to let you know that one of our three engines has failed. There is, of course, no need for alarm. This plane is entirely airworthy flying on two engines but I regret to say we will be one hour late in arriving in New York.” One half hour later, inevitably, with that desperate calm that is reserved by air pilots and astronauts for conditions of extreme emergency, the pilot of the TriStar spoke again: “This is your captain speaking. I regret that we have lost the second of our engines. But I would like to reassure you that we have every expectation of making a normal and safe landing at JFK Airport. We shall, however, be three hours late in arriving. If any of you would like to take this time to make some calls the cell phone restriction has been lifted for the remainder of the flight.” At this, the man called his girlfriend and said “My dear, I’m so sorry, I can’t keep my promise… we have lost two engines and we will be getting in three hours late, but that’s not the worst part… I’m afraid that if we lose this third engine, I may be up here all night.”
We often look for grand gestures to express our love to others, when what is needed is a daily lifestyle of appreciation and loving service in the nitty-gritty of life to those we love. Pastor and writer Gene Gregory once said in 2009, “…Over $1 billion was spent on chocolate, $1 billion on cards, and 218 million roses were sold in the pursuit of, or in an attempt to demonstrate love. The Bible tells us that God sent the first valentine. God showed what true love is. God demonstrated love for you and me over 2000 years ago when Jesus was sent, God’s One and Only Son, to pay the price for your sins and mine. God didn’t just love us enough to tell us about it. God didn’t just love us enough that God settled for having it written in the clouds by angels in flaming chariots. God didn’t love us just enough that God stopped at sending us a love note, or a card, or calling us. God loved us enough that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was sent. You see, when it came to demonstrating love, FTD was not fragrant enough, chocolate was not sweet enough, and Hallmark couldn’t find the words to set us free! But with Christ we can be “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Two weeks after we celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we enter the season of Lent as we celebrate Ash Wednesday (7pm Service of Communion & Ashes at Emmanuel Church, with our brothers & sisters from Belle Valley and Emmanuel Churches, with a joint choir) –what a perfect follow-up to Valentine’s Day…celebrating a divine love that completely overshadows our human attempts at love! Please join us as we begin our Lenten worship/devotion/study theme: “By His Stripes We Are Healed.”
In Christ, Pastor Dave (email@example.com)
Belle Valley Group’s AA Meetings have been cancelled. Please see AA’s website below for alternative locations and meeting times.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other; that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A.membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
The Pastor’s Searchlight—January, 2020:
The following is an excerpt from The One Year Book of Amazing Stories, by Robert Petterson:
“In an era of increasing polarization, it might do us all some good to remember an amazing act of heroism many decades ago. It took place during an era of nation against nation, race against race, and religion against religion, an era that began with ethnic cleansing and ended in the Holocaust. On Feb. 3, 1943, an army transport ship, the Dorchester, was ferrying 900 combat soldiers across the North Atlantic to join in the fight against Nazi Germany. It wasn’t an easy passage. The winter crossing was stormy, masking those aboard feel like they were riding a rodeo bull. Young boys in uniform were both homesick and seasick in hot, airtight compartments below deck. But their queasy claustrophobia would soon be forgotten when torpedoes from a German sub slammed into the Dorchester. The captain knew that his vessel was going down, and he sounded orders to abandon ship with all haste. The pandemonium was heightened by the utter blackness of the stormy night. Young men were desperately searching for life jackets and trying to find lifeboats on a ship sinking in icy seas a hundred fifty miles from Greenland. In the midst of this chaos, four military chaplains became immortal heroes: Father John Washington, a New Jersey Roman Catholic; Reverend Clark Poling, a Reformed Church of America chaplain from Ohio; Reverend George Fox, a Pennsylvania Methodist; and Rabbi Alexander Goode, a Jewish leader from Brooklyn. Together, they did what chaplains are supposed to do as they guided soldiers to evacuation points, whispered courage in their ears, and helped them into lifeboats or over the side of the sinking ship. When life jackets ran out, the four chaplains peeled theirs off and gave them away.”
“Nearly 700 men died in the frigid waters that night, but more than 200 survived—some wearing life jackets handed to them by the chaplains. One soldier said that he was going back to retrieve his gloves, but Rabbi Goode insisted that he take his. Witnesses remember seeing those chaplains for the last time, linking arms together and praying as the ship disappeared from sight—a Catholic priest, a Reformed pastor, a Methodist preacher, and a Jewish rabbi. They may have come from different regions of America, voted for different political candidates, believed disparate theologies, and worshipped with dissimilar liturgies, but they believed in the same God, fought under the same flag, and were willing to die for young men whose views and lifestyles they may not have embraced. It’s no wonder that they were posthumously awarded one of the highest honors this nation can give to its military heroes.”
“In an age of intolerance, when almost anyone who doesn’t agree with us is dismissed as an enemy to be ridiculed, we would do well to dust off the amazing story of four chaplains who linked arms together in unity to pay the ultimate sacrifice for others. If it causes any of us to become less divisive, the retelling of this story will be well worth it. We might even benefit from something Malcolm Forbes said: Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.”
Earlier in my years at St. Paul’s UCC, I participated several years consecutively in a Chapel of Four Chaplains celebration memorial service/concert in Erie, through which we raised funds for the creation of a memorial stained-glass window (found in the Erie VA Hospital Chapel) depicting these heroic chaplains. We are a nation founded on the courageous and selfless principles of these four heroes, in spite of our current trends of divisiveness and “party politics.” They seriously committed to the dream of true democracy and the melting pot of the American nation…a confluence of ethnicity, race, religion, personality, age, gender, sexuality, politics and freedoms. The backbone of their commitment was ultimately seen in their selflessness! What about you and me…are we as committed to Christ’s ideal: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-4)” May this year be all about living a crystal-clear, 20/20 vision of what Christ taught and lived, instead of partisanship and “I’m right—you’re wrong; don’t confuse me with the facts” mentality!
Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? (Malachi 2:10)
In Christ, Pastor Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org)