God’s Power at Work
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ! Blessings to you all! I hope and pray that this reflection note finds you well.
Well, as I write this, I realize that by the time you receive it I will have been here three full weeks already! Wow, where did they go, though? I have met many wonderful people so far—both here in the office during the weekdays and many more of you on Sunday mornings and other times. All in all, it has been three of the most special and blessed weeks of my life!
As your interim pastor, I have enjoyed meeting you, getting to know you, and becoming part of your personal and congregational faith journeys. I am attempting to learn as many names as I can. And, I am deeply grateful to all those I’ve had the privilege of sharing a meal and conversation with. Thank you all for your kindness and generosity, and I look forward to getting to know everyone better.
The in-between time since Gray’s retirement and my arrival may have seemed long and possibly awkward after so many years with Gray, but it is behind us! And, most importantly, it has not diminished what God has been doing at JCPC. God is indeed busy around here! Here are some of my observations of what God is up to …
The family of faith here at JCPC is very warm and welcoming, and your sense of caring is genuine and wonderful. The mood of people around the church is positive and upbeat! There’s peppiness in our footsteps and energy in the hallways and pews/chairs. Smiles can be seen on our faces. Laughter can be heard in our gatherings. My friends, the Holy Spirit is moving among us and reinvigorating JCPC for a bright and exciting future!
The church staff is a good, strong, and healthy team. We work well together, we work hard, and we have fun in all that we do. We have meshed very well together, and God has blessed us all with energy and enthusiasm!
Finally, your Session and ministry teams are hard at work planning for various events and activities in the coming months. We are poised to be great servant leaders and accomplish many wonderful things in God’s name during 2022 and beyond!
And, there is more! There is always more that God is doing in our life and ministry together. This is an exciting time for JCPC, knowing God is with us every step of our way forward into a wonderful and blessed future, and I pray you will find ways to be part of all that God is doing in and through our congregation.
To those of you who have been able to be an active part of this family of faith since my arrival, I thank you. But, to those of you who have not had the opportunity, please accept my invitation to join us. Whether you have been away for a few weeks, months, or years—it doesn’t matter—we welcome you home to JCPC with open arms and hearts full of love!
Until the next time, I remain just another silly preacher, giddy as a schoolboy that God called me to JCPC! ~ Pastor Steven
Session Highlights and Updates
As we emerge from Covid routines and return to a traditional pattern of worship we should still anticipate some changes. And nowhere was change more evident than at our most recent Session meeting last Monday evening.
Newly arrived Interim Senior Pastor Rev. Barnes, (Pastor Steven, as he prefers to be called) led the session in lively discussion of upcoming mission trips, congregational meetings, review of membership rolls, positive financial reports, facility maintenance projects as well as monthly mission team activities. It sounds like it was a long meeting, which it was, but it was filled with spirit and good fellowship. Pastor Steven reminded us that “patience” must go hand in hand with change. Both our staff members and we as congregants will need to be filled with patience during this time. It will be an exciting and Spirit-filled time. Some of the changes and other actions by your session and staff are listed below.
- Acted on the worship team’s request to shift a Communion date to June 12th from June 5th.
- Acted to change the membership category on families we know have moved away during the past few years.
- Acted on a combined worship team and educational team request to approve a Sunday morning schedule change for the summer called “Summer Celebration,” which includes a schedule of a single 10:00 a.m. worship to be held in the Chapel and to be preceded by a 9:30 a.m. coffee and sweets fellowship. This will begin on Memorial Day Weekend and continue throughout the summer. Adult and youth Sunday School will be paused during the summer.
- Were informed of staff’s desire to begin “Passing the Peace” and singing of a third hymn during worship.
- Recognized Billie Bothwell’s fantastic coordination of providing meals to families in need over the past year.
- Received a financial report showing strong improvement with families graciously sharing their gifts.
- Pastor Steven shared that the Presbyterian Disaster Relief fund is a conduit for Ukraine relief.
- Received a presentation from Jeff Arnold on this fall’s reintroduction of our Planned Giving Program which was sidelined during Covid.
- Requested that worship team return to scheduling our Fine Arts Academy musician instructors for Sunday worship services.
- Our youth elder, Niko Furtado shared that our youth group will be holding combined fellowship and volunteer activities with the Pleasant Hill Presbyterian youth group in anticipation of the two groups sharing a house during their Montreat trip this summer.
- Property team shared that the retaining wall renovation has begun with tree removal and demolition of the old wall will begin soon.
- Pastor Steven closed the meeting with prayer asking God to bless our ministries, protect us, and be with those we love and especially be with those in need of care both on our prayer list and those known only to God.
Yours in Christ,
Dr. Rick Zellmer
Clerk JCPC Session