Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Souper Bowl of Caring

The “youth” of the Community Presbyterian Church of Malverne will be holding soup pots at the church doors on Souper Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2008. We will be joining people in churches across the country to collect money for those who are hungry and hurting. In 2007, over 14,500 groups participated in the Souper Bowl of Caring, generating over $8 million. All of the money we collect on Sunday here in Malverne is donated to the Long Island Council of Churches. We will report our collection total so national totals can be determined and announced. Since the Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990, more than $41 million has gone to help people in need. Please support the youth of our church in this effort to “love our neighbors” by dropping your dollar in the soup pot on February 3 and bringing in canned food to be collected during the service.

Talk this up in our community, we can extend this beyond the church doors. Canisters to contribute to the cause are located in Malverne in the Malverne Deli and Antionio's on Hempstead Avenue.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Which one interests you?

At the congregational meeting this past Sunday, Pastor Fritz laid out three priorities for the year:
  1. Hands-on mission: more than writing checks, actually meeting and working with the people we're helping.
  2. Stewardship: helping the congregation focus on what it means for our financial lives to be a Christian in a consumerist society. How do we set priorities, care for ourselves, and care for our world? Not a fund-raising team.
  3. Party planning: This year is CPC's 75th anniversary. It's something to celebrate and to give us inspiration for the future.
Ideally, everyone in the congregation will join up with one of these teams. Pastor Fritz (PF) is going to be pushing each of us to have an active role in the life of the church this year. So, start thinking now about where and how God is calling you to act, before PF starts twisting your arm.

If you're not certain what these teams are all about, contact PF at church or by e-mail.

Don't Forget: Winter Seminar this Thursday! "Christ Meets Life: Marriage, Sex, and Dating" Pizza at 6:30, Seminar at 7:00.
RSVP to church or so we know how much pizza to order.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On the Ground in Kenya - cont.

I haven't heard from the Judd's recently - the person who forwards me their letters has been quite busy of late. But I did receive a note from Marta Bennett, a PC(USA) Mission Co-worker who is on the faculty of Nairobi International School of Theology. Here are excerpts from her note from January 10, 2008.

We had a living room full of people at our house watching the [election] returns over the that weekend, including Kikuyu, Luo and Kamba, the tribes of the top three presidential candidates. One of the Kikuyus in our gathering started commenting: "Where are the returns from my area? All around Mount Kenya, nothing is coming! What is happening?"

In the midst of questions about the election tally, the Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman announced that Kikaki had one. Then an hour later, Kibaki was being sworn in at a basically private affair at the State House. We were stunned and dismayed in our living room, Kikuyu, Luo and American alike.

This election - it was such an act of injustice, laced with irregularities and illegalities. We really hoped we would prove that Kenya had taken a major step towards democracy with this election. But instead we have been set back year and fanned the flames of ethnic hatred among neighbors who up till now had lived side by side peacefully.

On Sunday, December 30, I was reading Proverbs 29 before the final results were announced. As alarming questions were starting to surface, the scripture was such a direct word from the Lord:
"By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down... The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern ... If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace."

We are praying, fasting, crying out that somehow God would intervene. Yesterday (Jan. 6) many churches were praying. In the afternoon, many of the pastors and others met at All Saints Cathedral in town. It sounds like it was a remarkable time with representatives of each ethnic group standing and confessing the sins of their particular ethnic group, asking forgiveness and praying for God's intervention, truth, justice and mercy, and embracing with tears the representative of their "opposite" tribal group.

Complete text of Marta Bennett's letter
Marta Bennett's web page

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's your turn

Anyone who wants to help with the blog, contact Pastor Fritz or Elisabeth. It's easy! It's fun! It gives you a chance to talk about stuff you want to talk about. (Go on, confess: You get tired of Fritz doing all the talking, right?)

Plans & Expectations

The holidays seem like they were months ago, don't they? In reality, New Year's Day was only a week ago.

We come into a new year, a new anything, with plans and expectations--sometimes good, sometimes bad. We'll be more organized this time around. We'll keep that new leaf turned over for good, and maybe turn another one, too. We'll face certain trials and difficulties. Maybe we're filled with fear, whether for ourselves or for loved ones, or both.

I've found that expectations are hardly ever met. I don't need that explanatory speech I've been rehearsing in my head on my way to a meeting, or the leaf doesn't actually stay turned over for more than a week. (My grandmother had a positive spin on this quirk of life. She was a worryer because, she said, nothing she worried about ever happened.)

But I don't advocate worrying (as hard as it is not to do), and I don't put a lot of store in expectations and plans, because they're hardly ever met. I know that no matter what happens to our carefully laid plans, or what happens to us in the absence of plans, God will always be there to see us through. And God is an expert at planning--and changing plans on the fly when we screw things up.

So my plan for this year is to try to live out God's plan.
My expectation is that sometimes I'll succeed, and sometimes I'll screw up.
But I'm not worried, because God's plan can adjust to take me as I am.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

On the Ground in Kenya

Missionaries LeRoy and Joann Judd work with African Inland Mission in Nairobi, Kenya. LeRoy is a seminary professor and Joann runs programs for children. Below are excerpts from emails they have sent over the last few days chronicling the violence broken out due to the results from the recent election.

12/30/2007 - 11:00 pm
For several days we have been asked to stay mostly at home due to the election results and violence. This morning we did go out to our church and spent much of the service in prayer. .. Much of the city is dark except for the fires (arson) raging in some slums, including Kibera, near our church, where many of our students and friends live. Some have taken refuge in an Assembly of God church. Pray for protection for God's people and for calm to be restored.

One of our friends says his room has been filled several times with tear gas as the police try to control the crowds. All live broadcasting has been suspended. We expect there could be further trouble tomorrow as the candidate who lost is declaring a victory rally.

1/02/2008 - 10:00 am
We have been basically indoors for almost a week now with just brief trips out to a small mall a few blocks away during the lulls in the violence. One of our gate guards got a phone call from his wife who reported that their neighbor's houses had been burned, the two supermarkets and the hardware store, but that their house and the other on the street were still standing.

We never know what a day or night will hold. We are concerned that the quarrel over the election has taken increasingly tribal lines and there is a terrible backlash against Kibaki's (the candidate who "won" the election) people, the Kikuyu.

Last night it occurred to me that this violence is also spiritual warfare. Churches and mosques and Hindu temples are becoming places of refuge, as as the burning of one church with its occupants shows, Satan is at work here. A spirit of evil and violence is controlling people. We need to pray earnestly that our God will restrain and hold back this evil spirit and that His people will be protected.

1/02/2008 - 5:00 pm
Tomorrow is a critical day, because Raila (the candidate who "lost" the election) has called for a mass rally of a million people in Nairobi tomorrow. The government is saying the demonstration is not allowed, but the opposition is planning to go on with it anyway. This sounds ominous to us. As Kenyans hide in their homes and churches, we urge you to stand with them by gathering in groups for prayer.

1/03/2008 - 7:00 pm
Today the opposition party had called for mass action. their party headquarters are within easy walking distance of our apartment and Bishop Tutu was meeting with them. By noon we had reports that marchers were just a few blocks away and we were grateful for all of you standing with us in prayer. They actually passed on our street and came to our gate asking the guard "what kind of people are here?" Our guard is of the right tribe and political party, so they passed by.

Our night guard just arrived and says that last night he had moved his family. That very same night people burned the block of 13 rooms where they had been renting.

We were greatly saddened to watch on TV the burning of one of our sister churches.

Pray that the international community can bring pressure on the president to allow another tally of the votes and bring in mediation to quell the tensions. Thank you for standing with us.