Mid Councils Newsletter September 8
Friends, I am sharing with you a note we received from the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Nevada. If you are worried about the state of the church or think that little churches full of people who got their first drivers' license decades ago cannot make a difference, read on and be inspired!—Sue Krummel
Thank you for being patient with me. I have given the Presbytery agenda and etc to the Session. None of us is free to go to Presbytery this fall. I have visited with Rev Pat from the Elko Church and I think he will give Presbytery a report in our behalf.
We would not have Presbytery thinking we have been resting on our laurels!
Our pastor, off and on, for most of the past 30 years, Rev. Steve Gartman, went into the hospital December 3, 2013. He was diagnosed with colon cancer along with many complications by doctors at the Twin Falls, Idaho hospital. He was in that hospital until early February when he was transported to the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City. He suffered through many more complications until finally he had surgery to remove the malignant tumor on June 18, 2014. He was finally able to come home to Wells August 8, 2014.
We rejoice at Rev. Gartman's nearly miraculous recovery. The prayers of the whole community were with this well-liked pastor who did so much to help so many following the 2008 earthquake. During Rev. Gartman's eight month hiatus, the church continued to serve. We reminded each other that every person sitting in the pews represents a personal sphere of influence in the community.
We visit those we know who are the sick and we pray for and help those who are caring for family members.
Several of us drive those who need help to the DMV, Veteran's Clinic, social security office, doctors, dentists in Elko.
There are four older ladies who live in the same block here in Wells who have macular degeneration. They need to go to a doctor in Elko regularly for eye care. They have formed a car pool and several of our church members take turns driving them.
We take a special monthly offering to be used to help those we know who cannot afford to pay for out-of-town trips to the doctor or for adequate utilities. We support our local FISH program.
Nearly ever person sitting regularly in the pews on Sunday morning found a way to serve Rev. Gartman as well. We visited while he was in Twin Falls and in Salt Lake City; we sent hundreds of "hang-in-there" cards along with more arduous help in the form of taking care of Steve's mail, taking responsibility for his check book and paying his bills. Before he came home, four church ladies worked each morning for five days to clean and ready the church manse for his arrival home. People stop in daily to say hello and make sure all is well now that he is home and on his own.
He is attending church on Sunday morning, and while he will be able to moderate Session, he will not be preaching for the next several weeks as he recovers strength and stamina. Rev. Gartman plans to fit into a preaching schedule that will continue to include Rev. Rick Glass. Ruth Lee of Elko and Joel Jund of Spring Creek will be invited to fill the pulpit as need arises. We are so blessed that these dedicated servants of God wish to remain committed to the Wells Presbyterian Church.
Again we rejoice in the return of our good pastor! And we thank God for hearing our prayers!
As Rev Pat will report, we have had Rev Rick Glass, as our primary pastor, plus two other fine speakers who fill our pulpit when Rev Rick needs to be gone. When none of these folks are able to be with us, one of the Session takes responsibility for the worship service.
Our Session is dynamic and is totally committed to keeping this small church alive and well. We have 20 members with another 20 "friends of the church" who attend somewhat regularly. We have an annual budget of $20,000 and that is quite a responsibility for our small membership plus a committed few.
Our major annual fund raiser is the church's Breakfast in the Park on Car Show Weekend, the last weekend in July. After the 2013 Breakfast in the Park we thought we might have to let another civic organization take on the fund raiser. Most of us are over 65 years old, and the event is labor intensive. The Church has hosted Breakfast in the Park for 25 years and most of us were loathe to give it up.
At our 2013 August Session meeting, we agreed to postpone a decision for two weeks, while praying for divine inspiration. (We had a time restraint. If we were going to give up the fund raiser, we had to let the Car Show Committee know by August 15 so another organization could take over.)
We received a plethora of divine inspiration in the form of an offer from our youngest Session member. This young rancher said he had spoken to a group of his closest friends and their families. Working in tandem with some of the veteran Breakfast in the Park crew, we served 471 people over two mornings, and netted $2093. Both statistics set a new record.
(I can't resist adding this statistic: Our "guest chef" set up a scrambled egg station along side the hotcake grill and the sausage fryer. Pan after pan of lovely gently scrambled eggs delighted our guests. (His backup crew broke 90 dozen eggs into stock pots and 'scrambled' them the night before.)
And we have more good news:
We will be re-establishing the annual Harvest Dinner in September.
The baked ham Harvest Dinner had been a tradition in our little church for 115 years. We had to let it go three years ago. We just did not have enough help. Traditionally the ladies of the church baked the hams in our homes. One of our men collected the hams and transported them to a home kitchen where they were sliced. A 'runner' brought the sliced hams to the church kitchen. The church ladies also prepared traditional side dishes. But we had to ask for extra dishes from about 35 households. Imagine our angst when several people became ill following that last dinner. We could not guarantee the safety of the various dishes. It seemed that pot luck dinners in a stuffy, tightly-packed church hall might well be going the way of the eight track tape. With heavy hearts, we jettisoned the long tradition.
But the community heavily lobbied us. Many begged us to reconsider. Various churches offered to help. We weighed our options. And when the the same young people who took over the Breakfast in the Park said they had some ideas, we listened.
The Harvest Dinner will have a new menu and a new venue. The menu will be barbecued tri-tip, ranch beans and lettuce salad. Cleanliness and attention to correct food temperature standards will be the order of the day. The church ladies will bake pies for a pie auction following the dinner, with our young session member as auctioneer.
The venue will be the Elton Pavilion in the Wells City Park on the last Sunday afternoon in September.(The pavilion is named for Dorothy and Butch Elton who were stalwarts in the church and in the life of the city for 50 years. Both went to their reward in the same April week following the February 2008 earthquake.)
It is with great joy that I report these activities in the life of the Wells Presbyterian Church. We are privileged to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this small community.
Clerk of Session
Friends, We have received news from Harold Delhagen about his health. Please read his letter to the Synod of the Northeast (of which he is the executive.)
Additionally, we have a note from The Synod of the Trinity office to fill you in on recent staff changes at the Synod!
The Rev. Dr. Bruce G. Stevens retired as Synod Executive on July 31, 2014 and now happily resides at his farm in West Virginia. Upon Bruce's retirement, the Rev. Susan Faye Wonderland, former Synod Associate Executive, has been called as the Synod Transitional Executive. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
The Rev. Dr. Wayne A. Yost, retired General Presbyter of Kiskiminetas Presbytery, has been called to serve as Synod Stated Clerk. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both can be reached by telephone at the Synod office telephone number, 717-737-0421.
Heath K. Rada, Moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014), has written a letter inviting moderators to attend the upcoming Moderators' Conference. (download PDF)
He has also recorded a personal video invitation. Copy and paste the link (for example, into an email) if you wish to share Heath's video with moderators.
Click here to read the Special Committee's letter.
Registration for the Moderators’ Conference will be open early in September be sure to have your moderator save the dates of November 7-9, 2014. There are $200 scholarships available for presbyteries of less than 7,500 members. Each such presbytery may ask for a reduction in the registration fee for one person from their presbytery. The request should be made to Sue Krummel, email@example.com.
Registration for the Polity Conference is now open. Please go to pcusa.org/policon.