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Category Archives: Mission
This might be my last post for a while. Looks like Maria is still coming our way. I wanted to write about all of the wonderful things that happened yesterday as countless volunteers continued to give and serve. I’ll send pictures of the wood donations being handed out, the meals being served at MBW, and the groceries and supplies being distributed at our church. I know over 200 families were given supplies enough for a couple of days. Bright spots of course are the children and yesterday we were serenaded by two of our younger volunteers. UPS even got in on the action donating one of their trucks for us to move supplies. Thank you UPS and the Salvation Army for working out those details. The most wonderful blessing was opening a pallet in that big 40 foot container and finding boxes of supplies from Ponce Puerto Rico all decorated and hand signed with prayers and blessings. Many of the cans were labeled with a heart sending their love. For those of you who don’t know Ponce is where our XYG youth group served on their mission trip last year. The blessings have now come full circle. “Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you.” -Ecclesiastes 11:1
We truly appreciate all the prayers and support that you have been sending our way. We are now keeping our brothers and sisters on St. Croix and Puerto Rico and all the neighboring islands in our prayers as Maria moves through in the next couple of days. I am optimistic because I have faith in God and in the ability of God’s faithful people to endure trials and tribulations. I wish I could say things were great here but they are not and so many people are suffering. We will continue to do what we can to get relief supplies into the hands of those who need it the most. (As a reminder you can give financial donations on our website and through our app or by sending a check which will all go into our Irma relief fund. Financial supplies will help the most long term. Please do not send us clothes!!!)
I thank everyone on the outside who has been working diligently to assist us in this time of great need.
I took a Sabbath from posting on Facebook yesterday. We celebrated our Sabbath with worship in our sanctuary, people sat in the pews along side food and supplies that have been pouring in. Dozens of volunteers helped out after worship doing more runs for more supplies, stocking pews, cleaning up around church and making sure our neighbors were taken care of. The Salvation Army has received two semi trucks full of supplies and we are offloading those into our sanctuary. We will receive another large shipment from Puerto Rico again today and are set to share all of these supplies with anyone who comes today to ask. Our goal is to have people set for the next couple of days as we are now preparing for another storm. For those of you who were here this past summer and enjoyed our Broadway sermon series, I already have our off island summer camp staff ready for next summer’s performance of the Sound of Music, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Hopefully by next summer that will be appropriately humorous. Right now we are all very concerned and appreciate your prayers and support. We are also now distributing supplies to Seaview adult Home where conditions are worsening. Thank you Kim BourneVaneck for your stellar work in caring for all of those residents.
In the afternoon, I was blessed to be able to lead worship at our hospital in the lobby area. The hospital staff doctors and nurses are holding on by a thin wire and trying to attend to the patients through the emergency room in a badly damaged facility. Many are working 24 hour shifts. Thank you Tina Comissiong for the invitation to lead worship there yesterday and for all you and the staff are doing to keep our hospital functioning. Dr. Mark Livingston also attended to patients after worship in our Lower learning center. These are just a few of the things people are doing to help and to care and to love our neighbors. It is truly inspiring! I am very proud and happy to be part of a church with so many resources and such a desire to care for their community. The well is deep when we draw from Christ’s living water!
I share with you a screenshot from my iPhone reminders. This is my only reminder, one that I leave on my phone all the time. I share it as a reminder to all of you wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever you are facing… Pray!
“Bless the Lord O My soul and all that is within me, bless Your holy name!” Giving thanks this morning for so many glimpses of light in the darkness, so many glimmers of hope amidst the despair. Our awesome group of volunteers (young and younger) led by Robin Marsella at STRC handed out food and supplies to over 160 families yesterday. The awesome group of volunteers at MBW Cafe & Bakery fed 600! Way to go Jenny and your MBW team! The awesome group of volunteers at MBW shop in Tutu received 2 large flatbeds of Plywood and 2x4s and began cutting and distributing it to any in need. Scott – you continue to amaze. We are trying to organize teams to help put up tarps…that is, if we ever see a tarp! I got message that the Army Corp of Engineers is here and helping. If anyone has a way to connect us, please do! Our awesome groups of volunteers in the states have been continuing to coordinate supply runs to us and managing to get hundreds of people off island to safety. I need to mention one angel…Adonnah, thank you for managing the dock with grace. Yesterday was chaos in the pouring rain (pics) but she managed to get supplies off to us and people on. We said goodbye to Robert & Donna deJongh who FINALLY will make it back to the storm-torn Houston to continue his cancer treatments. Our prayers go with you!
I know there are countless other STC members proudly serving and humbly offering their gifts, caring for the sick, offering counseling to survivors, cleaning out people’s homes and yards, bringing food and water to the homebound, and covering up neighbor’s roofs. You are awesome. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Just prior to curfew I was able to make it to one more parishioner’s home. It’s heart-breaking. (pics) But bless the Lord, they are safe and now staying with family.
Nicole is back online after a 3 day trip to Miami on the cruise ship with her beautiful baby Dominic. She is now helping to coordinate volunteers and schedules. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or message her here. Thank you Nicole!
And to answer your question: YES WE WILL WORSHIP TOMORROW in our sanctuary beginning one hour after curfew. Right now curfew is 10am so worship will begin at 11am. You might have to sit on a can of beans but you might also might find that more comfortable than those hard wooden pews! Dr. Mark Livingston has offered to see anyone with medical issues after the service. Thank you Mark!
That’s all I have time for today…
“Bless the Lord, O my Soul and all that is within us…”
Good morning. No Internet this morning so I’m back to typing on my little phone. Just want to give a quick update. The café and bakery continue to offer stellar meals and service serving over 500 yesterday. Church volunteers doled out bags of food and supplies to over 65 families. We ran out of supplies but just as we were closing up, more trucks came in and we reloaded for today. I’m sorry I have not had time to reply to every response and message. I appreciate your support… and yes we still need help. Unfortunately right now we cannot receive mail although that should be changing soon. Please do not send clothing!!!! Personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies nonperishable foods, mosquito nets and tarps are top of the list. The quickest and best way to help is by making a financial donation through our website or app or mailing a check to the church. “Irma Relief”. Follow MBW Cafe on Facebook and this post and you can also donate online to MBW or The Red Cross or the Salvation Army. Power was restored once again downtown so we are back in business. I’m still trying to get word about a few members and friends from our congregation and getting out to visit. Pray for all who are volunteering please pray for those who are still living in homes without roofs and as the thunder crashes as I write this, another storm is passing over us ready to dump buckets of rain. People are still hungry tired wet and we covet your prayers. Thank you for all the support. I will try to post more tonight?
I used to like to listen to the sound of the birds in the early morning as I sipped my coffee. Nature writes the most beautiful symphonies. Now I cherish the sound of my diesel generator which for 2 hours every morning allows me to make coffee to sip, charge my phone and computer, and to communicate with the outside world. I wish I could run an extension cord to every house on this island from my generator so I could share the blessing of POWER! Speaking of power, we lost… it at the church and cafe again yesterday but the generator at the cafe kept them up and running and they served another fabulous meal to the masses. Next door at STRC we had a group of dedicated volunteers sorting donations and then distributing them to any who had need. (pics). We have large shipments coming into today and will do more of the same. Yes, if you are here and can volunteer, we could use some help! text me 340-227-9696 or just come to church when able.
I received a huge response from the NPR interview yesterday. We are grateful for the media attention. I marvel at how cleverly they can edit out most of what I say about faith, God and Jesus. But that’s ok…God has already blessed that with several donations from all over! Yes, we fixed our website and APP (thank you Steve and Phyllis!) so we can receive donations online again.
I know Amy Nyland at the NY Synod has communicated with our wonderful partner church Marble Collegiate to help raise funds. Thank you for that! The Bouis & Brinns continue to get donations shipped here daily… not sure how but we are receiving it! Thank you. Andy and Anne got us connected to Food for the Poor who is getting a 40′ container together to ship. Bless you! My brother Ken is working the RCA angles for support and getting me connected to FEMA people here (WE NEED TARPS!!!! AND NOW WE NEED MOSQUITO NETS TOO!!!!) Thanks bro! These are just a few of the many bright spots from yesterday. Your prayers and support are so very much appreciated.
Almost time to shut the generator down, cut the power and head out there again…but not before sitting for a moment in the quiet to listen for the sound of the birds singing. Sing to the Lord all the earth!!!
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What is a faithful consistory?
A common misconception is that a congregation is built like a pyramid, with the minister at the top, the consistory next, and the congregation as a broad but somehow less-than-equal base. This is certainly not how the church order of the Reformed Church was conceived some five centuries ago. In light of Reformed church order, the structure of an RCA congregation is better represented as a circle with the consistory, including the pastor, inside. The whole circle stands together under the wisdom and guidance of the Word of God. The same Word measures each and all of us.
Reformed thought teaches that the whole ministry of Christ is found only when the whole congregation, including the elders, deacons, and ministers, is called to serve. The three offices– elder, deacon, and minister–complement each other and together are described as making up the pastorate of a local congregation. It has been customary to call the minister “pastor,” and that is appropriate. But the pastorate, the ministry of leadership, is only complete when all three offices work together, when they are mutually supportive and mutually accountable.
What’s an Elder?
Far from being just a placeholder in the congregation’s structure, an elder has specific ministry responsibilities that help provide for and protect the church.
The office of the elder is one of servant hood, representing Christ through the action of the Holy Spirit. In the local church, elders are chosen members who show spiritual discernment, lead exemplary lives, have charitable spirits, and embody wisdom grounded in God’s Word.
Elders, together with the installed minister/s serving under a call, have supervision of the church entrusted to them. They are set apart for a ministry of watchful and responsible care for all matters relating to the welfare and good order of the church. They are to study God’s Word, oversee the household of faith, encourage spiritual growth, maintain loving discipline, and provide for the proclamation of the gospel and the celebration of the sacraments.
–adapted from the Book of Church Order, Part I, Article 1, Section 8
We would like to thank our Church members who serve as Elders:
Jane Coles, Tom Calhoon, Dulcie Crowther, and Glenn Wells. We are pleased to welcome Barbara Daniels as an Elder and a new member of the consistory.
What are deacons called to do?
The Greek word in the Bible for deacon, diakonos, means servant.
Jesus provided the ultimate role model for servanthood. Throughout his ministry he reminded his followers in word and deed that he was among them as one who serves.
Deacons play a key role in moving their churches into missions of justice, mercy, and compassion. They organize soup kitchens, lead work groups to repair homes for elderly people or clean up a local stream, and minister to patients dying of AIDS.
Six diaconal concern areas:
- Stewardship education and congregational giving
- Special individual and family concerns
- Mission involvement
- Disaster response and volunteer service opportunities
- Hunger advocacy and relief efforts
- Caring for creation and simple living