Thursday, June 30, 2011

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Situation Report - Arizona Fires

For the past several weeks, the Wallow fire has been burning out of control in eastern Arizona. As of Saturday, June 12, it was reported that more than 386,000 acres (over 600 square miles) of timber in rugged terrain and prairie land have been burned. With only five percent of the fire contained, it is expected that this will be the largest wildfire in Arizona’s history.

Even as progress is being made to control this blaze, it comes in the seasonal cycle right before the area’s annual monsoon rains. With no foliage to absorb and channel the water flow, the impact of this fire is expected to be compounded with flooding and mudslides before long (July-August).

Area most effected

To date, 11,000 residents in the communities of Springerville, Eager, Alpine, Nutrioso and Greer have been evacuated. 29 residences have been destroyed — 22 of those in the community of Greer, Arizona. The fire threatens the electrical distribution area of the region, and it is expected that rolling blackouts will impact Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas.

There are two Presbyterian congregations located in the affected area: Alpine and Springerville. It is believed that a small out-building at the Alpine Church was burned, but that the sanctuary building was spared. The Grand Canyon Presbytery and the Presbytery de Cristo own a summer camp, Camp Montlure, located in Greer, that has suffered substantive damage with the loss of several cabins and support buildings. Full assessments cannot be completed, but it is believed that both churches and the camp will have damage from smoke pollution.

This fire has happened at the beginning of the summer camping season; even as a camp organization has scrambled to continue its ministry at a location in another part of the state, there has been an emotional burden for a community of young adult camp leaders.

PDA response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has provided One Great Hour of Sharing funds to help Grand Canyon Presbytery in its response to the fires. In addition, members of the National Response Team have been in the area.

What you can do

You can stand in the “GAP” for disaster survivors and help the church in this response.

GIVE. The generous sharing of your financial blessings through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering and special designated giving provides the resources needed to assist with immediate emergency needs, clean up provisions, long-term and unmet needs, and spiritual/emotional counseling.

Individuals may give online, or through their local Presbyterian congregation, on the secure PC(USA) Web site or by sending their check to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

Please include the special designated giving account DR000015 – U.S.A. Disasters and Emergencies.

Congregations should send donations through their normal mission giving channels.

ACT. Stay informed and share information about the need with others. Sign up to receive PDA Rapid Information Network (PDA-RIN) email notices to alert you of additional needs. Assemble Gift of the Heart Clean Up Buckets for needs around the United States.

PRAY.

The Grand Canyon Presbytery asks for continued prayer for all those those displaced, those providing emergency assistance, and those battling at the firelines. Prayers are specifically requested for:

Pastors and spiritual leaders in the affected area.
Camp leadership (director, staff and board).
The Sessions of the two affected churches.
The general populations of the affected communities.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A New Devotion on the Prayer Line - An Adventure in Prayer

John 10:1-10

1-5“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.


A Devotion by Lucy Neeley Adams (North Carolina)

I kissed my young son goodbye and prayed for him as he went for emergency surgery. However, my prayer seemed to bounce back like an echo. I was consumed with fear.

Plopping in an easy chair in the waiting room, I glanced over the magazines and picked up a small green booklet with an intriguing title, “Adventures in Prayer.” Since my prayers felt lifeless, I knew I needed help. The words from author Catherine Marshall were exciting because she prayed about her everyday needs. Her relationship with God sounded personal. What did all of this mean? I had prayed for years in church. But some thing was missing. I began to see that my faith was based more on dutiful religion than on a growing relationship with God.

At that moment I prayed the first exciting prayer I had ever uttered. “Lord, I don’t know you. Please help me.” The peace and joy that came to my heart was a new experience. It helped me to understand that God had heard me.

My son’s surgery was a success, but the spiritual surgery of my soul had just begun. Since I learned to see God as my friend, life has never been the same.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - It’s Not Rocket Science

Romans 6:12-23

12Now don’t let sin rule in your mortal bodies, to obey it’s desires. 13Nor present your members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as those who from death are alive and [present] your members as weapons of righteousness to God. 14For sin will not be lord over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.

15Now what? Should we sin, because we aren’t under law but under grace? Absolutely not! 16You know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves in obedience, you’re slaves of the one whom you obey whether it’s sin that leads to death or obedience that leads to righteousness, [you know that,] don’t you? 17But thanks be to God, that though you were slaves of sin, you were obedient from the heart to that which you were given, a type of teaching, 18and because you were set free from the sin, you were made a slave of righteousness.

19As a person, I’m speaking because of the weakness of your flesh. For as you presented your members as slaves of impurity and lawlessness upon lawlessness, thus now you present your members as slaves of righteousness in holiness. 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with respect to righteousness. 21Now what fruit did you have then, from those things which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22But now, because you are free from sin but enslaved to God, you have the fruit of holiness and of life eternal. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of grace from God is life eternal in Christ Jesus, our lord.


It’s Not Rocket Science

You know, it’s interesting. As I was knocking around what title I’d give this sermon, my first thought was simply “Daaa,” with three a’s. But you know, after thinking about it, I decided that “It’s Not Rocket Science” was a much better title. But I’ve got to tell you, the change had nothing to do with any new and profound truth that suddenly hit me or with me coming up with something that would be more “politically correct.” Good night I put a Gary Larson cartoon on the cover of the bulletin instead of a picture of Jesus or a drawing of the church; trust me, correctness had nothing to do with the decision. Instead, it really had a lot of do with Maggie and me seeing Super Eight a couple of weeks ago.

Now, how many of y’all have seen it? I’ll tell you, if you want to pick out places in and people from Weirton, you probably need to see it twice, the first time just to follow the story, the second time to look at the buildings and crowds. Anyway, without giving anything away in terms of plot, I think I’m safe in saying that the alien in the movie, even though he or she or it (you can’t really be sure), even though we’re talking about something as ugly as sin, he, she, or it was one heck of a rocket scientist. Now, if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, you’ll have to trust me. In other words, unlike the “he, she and it” on the cover of the bulletin, that alien had all the smarts needed to just plain do the job.

And you know, it’s seems to me that sometimes we assume that we need the same kind of smarts to respond to Jesus Christ. In other words, I think a lot of good, well-meaning Christians make responding to Jesus Christ really complicated. And I think I’ve got a pretty good idea why, because when I was younger, I did the same thing myself. You see, for me, it just didn’t seem fair for God to give his grace to just anybody, that just didn’t seem right, and so I believed that there were all kinds of decisions and promises you had to make and all kinds of words and prayers you had to say. And although they weren’t particular hard, they were kind of like secret knowledge that only someone on the inside, you know, someone who was already a Christian knew. I mean, salvation couldn’t be for everybody, right; and so I made the way you get in a little complicated.

And after you were on the inside, well, it really didn’t get easier, because there was really no consensus about what a Christian could and couldn’t do. In fact, the only real guide you had was a little like what they used to say about acne when I was younger: if you enjoyed eating something, you know, some kind of food teenager’s love, it had to be bad for the skin and you shouldn’t eat it. I’ll tell you, it was the same with Christianity, and it included a whole lot more than what kinds of food you could eat. Man, you could slip, and if you happened to die at that moment, well, you lost your “Get Out of Hell Free” card. Now that’s what I believed. And even though we may not go to that extreme, sometimes how we think people should respond to Christ is, well, it’s just more complicated than it needs to be. And I’ll tell you why I say that. You see, when you get right down to it, if we trust the Apostle Paul, responding to Jesus Christ, I’ll tell you, it’s just not rocket science. In other words, it’s a whole lot easier than we often believe it is.

I mean, take a look at the passage we just read, and think about what Paul said. He wrote that there were two things we shouldn’t do and two things we should do. And like I said, they’re both right here in the verses we read. He wrote, “Now don’t let sin rule in your mortal bodies, to obey it’s desires. Nor present your members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as those who from death are alive and [present] your members as weapons of righteousness to God.” In other words, according to Paul, we should stop acting like sin is somehow our king and we’re a bunch of ignorant peons who don’t have much of a choice. And we shouldn’t use our members, and for Paul this usually means parts of our body, they shouldn’t be used to do things we know are wrong. Put another way, when we feel like hitting someone, we should probably calm down. And when we feel like giving a guy a good, shift kick, we probably should take a step back. And when we feel like using our tongue to hurt someone else or to spread a little gossip, we probably should keep our mouths shut. Don’t hurt others. This is what we shouldn’t do.

On the positive side, we should look to God for direction and guidance, to present ourselves to him, ready to do what he’s called us to do. And instead of using what he’s given us to do some of the stuff that Paul associated with unrighteousness, and I’m talking about evil, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and craftiness, you know what I mean, the kind of stuff that’s purely self-serving and has nothing to do with the truth; in other words, instead of doing things we know are wrong, maybe we should use our hands to help up someone who’s fallen. And maybe we should use our feet to walk with someone who needs our company. And maybe we should use our tongue to build those around us up and to encourage them to be everything God has created them to be. You see, if we want to know how we can respond to Jesus Christ, it’s right here in these verses. And I’ll tell you, what Paul suggested for us to do, well, it’s just not all that complicated.

But he didn’t stop there; Paul even wrote about why it was simple, at least simple for us. Again, listen to what he said. I mean, why should we look past sin and focus on God? It’s simple: “For sin will not be lord over you. For you are not under law, but under grace.”

And how did this change us? It’s simple: “You know that the one to whom you present yourselves as slaves in obedience, you’re slaves of the one whom you obey whether it’s sin that leads to death or obedience that leads to righteousness, [you know that,] don’t you? But thanks be to God, that though you were slaves of sin, you were obedient from the heart to that which you were given, a type of teaching, and because you were set free from the sin, you were made a slave of righteousness.”

And what difference does that make in our lives? Man, it’s simple too: “As a person, I’m speaking because of the weakness of your flesh. For as you presented your members as slaves of impurity and lawlessness upon lawlessness, thus now you present your members as slaves of righteousness in holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with respect to righteousness. Now what fruit did you have then, from those things which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, because you are free from sin but enslaved to God, you have the fruit of holiness and of life eternal. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of grace from God is life eternal in Christ Jesus, our lord.”

You see, for us responding is simple, because of three things that have already happened. First, God has already acted. As Paul wrote in Romans, Jesus has already died on the cross and we’ve already died with him and through his death the power of sin is already broken. Sin is no longer our king, because Jesus Christ is our Lord. That’s one.

And second, because of that, our status has already changed. Using the example of slavery, we aren’t slaves to sin anymore. Instead, now we’re slaves of righteousness, slaves of God. Now, understand, this change of masters has already taken place, it’s a done deal, because the last time I looked, no slave has the power or right to choose his or her own master. Slaves are slaves for crying out loud and that’s exactly what we are. And praise the Lord, we now serve God. That’s two.

And finally, because of that, we’ve already been given the ability to respond. My gosh, only an idiot slave tries to serve his former owner. I’ll tell you, that’s one way to really tick off the guy who owns you now. Brothers and sisters, God is now our master, and our former loyalty to sin shouldn’t distract us from him. Therefore, we can focus all our attention and energy on doing what our master wants us to do, and I’m talking about reflecting his holiness and his love. In a world full of darkness, we can reflect light; in a world full of death, we can reflect life. Why? Because that’s exactly what God has given us the ability to do. It’s as simple as that.

And so now do you see why I said responding to Jesus isn’t rocket science? I mean, even though, for our own personal reasons, we may make this as complicated as we want, the reality is that it’s all simple to understand. We’re called simply to stop serving sin and start serving God. And the reason, well, that’s simple too. God acted and we changed and now we can respond. Of course, if I’d gone with my original title, right now I’d say “daaa,” with three a’s. But instead, I’m saying, “This is not rocket science.” But then, when you come down to the specifics, you know, the specific things we can do in our world, and I’m talking about a world in which most people don’t know Jesus but I believe have an inner sense of and desire for God, the things we can do and say to show and to share that almost paradoxical message of grace and accountability, well, that might take a little thought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Minute for Mission - Disability Inclusion

Deacon John Greenwald shares his gifts.
When John was asked to name his abilities, he described himself as having compassion, verbal skills, and empathy. As a lay reader, he often reads Scripture and leads the congregation in prayer. Once, during a blizzard that kept most people homebound, he defied the storm by going to church, where he made the first contribution toward Westminster's AIDS worker in Africa.

John also volunteers at FEAST, one of the church's hunger programs.

When John was in college, he was accosted by members of a "Christian'' group. They told him that his cerebral palsy was the result of his parents' wrongdoing. He no longer felt welcome at their church. Then John found a welcome at Westminster. "I knew right away that I was in the right place.'' When he expressed a wish to join the choir, he worked with a church committee to make the choir space accessible.

When the church welcomes people of all abilities, not as guests but as full participants, the church itself is transformed. Those of us who live with "disabilities" have abilities to share. We serve in many ways - as worship leaders, teachers, learners, committee members, community activists, writers, elders, and deacons, to name just a few. And we bring our own unique perspectives to those who are willing "to hear the voices of peoples long silenced" (Brief Statement of Faith, 70).

When you welcome people with disabilities, you are welcoming the Unseen Presence. But beware; you will be changed!

— The Rev. Bebe L. Baldwin, honorably retired, Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Missed Opportunities

2 Corinthians 8:8-15

8I am not ordering you to do this. I am simply testing how real your love is by comparing it with the concern that others have shown. 9You know that our Lord Jesus Christ was kind enough to give up all his riches and become poor, so that you could become rich.

10A year ago you were the first ones to give, and you gave because you wanted to. So listen to my advice. 11I think you should finish what you started. If you give according to what you have, you will prove that you are as eager to give as you were to think about giving. 12It doesn’t matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have.

13I am not trying to make life easier for others by making life harder for you. But it is only fair 14for you to share with them when you have so much, and they have so little. Later, when they have more than enough, and you are in need, they can share with you. Then everyone will have a fair share, 15just as the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered
too much
had nothing left.
Those who gathered
only a little
had all they needed.”


A Devotion by John H. McKnight (North Carolina)

Recently I sorted through my parents’ belongings. In the attic I found duplicate sets of household items — kitchen utensils, furniture, electronics, and linens. These items had been stored through many hot summers and cold winters, rendering most unusable. Accumulated over the years when family members passed away, they had been stored as keepsakes. They also reflected a need to save for a “rainy day,” born of my father’s being raised in poverty before and during the Great Depression years. These items would have been eagerly received by less fortunate people had they been offered. Certainly, my parents intended no harm by storing the excess items. Nonetheless, they missed opportunities to enrich the lives of others.

I learned from my attic experience to focus on God’s expectation that we attend to the needy, those without the basics of life, and to be satisfied with fewer material possessions. We love our brothers and sisters by looking to their interests, not to only our own.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Announcements

Below are the announcements as they appear in Sunday's bulletin:

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family.

DON’T FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

FATHER’S DAY. . .
Last Sunday a beautiful afghan crocheted by Darlene Johnson was presented to Wayne Williams. Congratulations, Wayne.

BAKE SALE SUNDAY MORNINGS . . .
during June to assist with the Mission Trip scheduled for July. All baked goods welcome!

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:15 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at 1 John 3:1-24. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

CHURCH & OFFICE CLOSED . . .
Monday, July 4 in observance of the Independence Day Holiday.

SUMMER CAMPS . . .
Beaver Creek and Camp Presmont are offering a variety of camps this year for children of all ages and interests. Experience nature, swimming, fishing, and making crafts, while growing in your faith. View the different types of camps and their dates by checking out the bulletin board located in the main hallway downstairs or contact the church office for more information. Scholarships are available to children wishing to experience summer camp.

ANNUAL MISSION TRIP . . .
July 10 thru the 16, will again be centered around Kopperston, West Virginia. We will be working to make homes and churches safe, dry and warm. You do not need to be a professional, you just need a desire to help those in need and also a willingness to listen if they need someone to talk to. For more information or to pick-up a registration form contact Tim Connell at 304-748-5655 or stop-in the church office.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

PLEASE SUPPORT . . .
Cove Presbyterian Church Community Birthday Calendar. This will be our Seventh Annual Issue. All profits this year will be used for the current roof project. If you have any questions concerning listings or about the calendar project, please contact the church office .It’s a wonderful way to remember all your important dates! We are encouraging all members to participate! Listing deadline is Friday, July 8th.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

Communion this Sunday

On Sunday, we'll share the Lord's Supper, something we also call communion. And even though we don't celebrate it every Sunday like they do in some other churches, that doesn't mean that it's unimportant. For us it represents an opportunity to be close to one another and to Jesus Christ. And though we don't believe that the bread and the juice actually change, Christ is present with us as we gather around the table. In fact, he invites to come into a closer relationship with him and our brothers and sisters. The latter idea is reflected in the fact that we don't eat the bread and drink from the cup individually. This is a communal act; therefore, we take both together, as a whole body. Also everyone who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is invited to the table, regardless of the church in which they're members. Ours is what's called an "open communion."

Since we don't share this special meal every Sunday, let's all make a special effort to be at worship on Sunday. And when you come, expect to feel closer to our Lord and our brothers and sisters.

Prayer Requests

The following are needs we'll lift to God on Sunday. If you have anyone to add, please let us know. Thanks.

Adults
Virginia Welch
Phyllis Manley
John Brothers
Rhonda Bruich
Paul Buck
Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
Dave Bever
Taylor Harris
Pam Haller
Bonnie Kirtley
Rachael
Connie Francis
Mary & Jack Games
Jennifer Dahlem
Charles Saffle
Bob Saffle
Andrea Vincent
Rose Mader
Jimmy Jones
Christy Cybulski
Chum Robert
Andy DiRemigio
Donna Jenkins
Bill Churchman
Judy Dobbins
Greta Billham
Don Billham
Nick Palavis
John F. Roberts
Vicki Williams
Betty
Charley
Denise Krofchek
Eleanor Williams
Julia Maine
Ruth Gilmore
Karen Tomich
Maxine Bulick
Melaine & Denny
Karen Wilson
Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
Kelly Stephens
Scott Roach
David Crow
Joanna Tsiftis Xylas
Ijawoye Oludare
Loretta Hess
Paul Pulice
Kim Smuck
Mike Burdette
Derek Trifonoff
Steve Mazzella
Ann Varner
Rev. Colleen Griffith
Tom Parsons

Kids
Jonah Becker
Shelby Kamarec
Brody McUmor
Zoe Purcell
Daisy Emmerick
Georgie Platt
Audri King
Brandon Wares
Hunter Stafford
Michael Liptak
Justus Loughry
Jeffrey Konovich
Sierra Huey
Maia Metcalf
Kya Schwertfeger
Gabriel

Military
Michael Criss
Jonathan Criss
Chad Peppler
Kendra Mader
Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Church Families
Linda, Ed Jessica & Jacob Kennedy
Richard L. Kimmel
Mildred Kimmel

Local Church
Mercy Baptist Church

Other Presbyterian Churches
Bethlehem United Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem, West Virginia - Rev. James Gear
Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church, Blaine, Ohio - Vacant Pulpit

In the Hospital
Robert Powelson - Weirton Medical Center
Julia Maine - Weirton Medical Center

Special Friend
Connie Francis

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
Father of Mary Ann Ianni

The Laurels, 500 Stanton Blvd, Steubenville OH 43952
Ruth Gilmore

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
Marge Black, Room 353
Mary Kay DePaolo
Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
Bob Morgan
Mike Valiga
Alice Orr

Serra House Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Drive, Weirton WV 26062-3664
Julia Maine

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - Lavish Love

1 John 4:7-18

7-10My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

11-12My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

13-16This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

17-18God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.


A Devotion by Ben Styles (Tennessee)

I’ve forgotten his name, but I will never forget his words. I met him while on a college-choir tour. As he drove my friend and me to his house for the night, he told us about his family. After affectionately describing his wife and younger daughter, he talked about his older child — an eight-year-old girl. The father’s eyes gleamed as he raved about his love for this daughter. What he said next surprised us: “She has Down’s syndrome. She will never read or write or do many things that other children do.” He paused thoughtfully and then continued, “Yet the way I love her has helped me to understand God’s love for me.”

I desperately needed those words then and, I confess, I still need them now. I guess I’m hardheaded. I often forget that God’s love for us has nothing to do with our performance. We can do nothing to make God love us any more; we can do nothing that will make God love us any less. God loves us and delights in us simply because God is our father.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday's Sermon - Down and Out

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

11Finally, brothers, rejoice; amend your ways; encourage one another; be of one mind; be at peace. And the God of love and peace is with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.


Down and Out
Now I want to be crystal clear about this, and I want y’all to listen and believe what I’m about to say, because it’s really important. When you leave here this morning, or probably better this afternoon, I want every man, woman, and child to feel as though they are “down and out.” There, I said it, and I’m glad I said it, because that’s exactly what I hope happens. Of course, I recognize that me saying may come as a surprise to y’all, especially considering the two things we associate with this day.

I mean, it’s Father’s Day for crying out loud. And even though “down-and-out” started as a boxing term, it’s never meant anything good. Man, when you’re down-and-out, you’ve got problems, right? You’re not exactly walking in the sunshine, and who wants to think about that on Father’s Day. I mean, even if you can remember your mother and her family calling him down-and-out, good night, even if they said he was also “good for nothing,” you don’t exactly want to celebrate that fact on Father’s Day. How can you enjoy that special meal at Eat N Park? I’m telling you, it’s just not right, not today.

But remember, on this particular Sunday, we’re also thinking about the Trinity, that simple Christian concept that “...defines God as three divine persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — distinctly coexisting in unity as co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial, or of one being,” I’m talking about that interpenetrating union of three distinct persons but not personalities. I mean, daa. Sounds apocalyptic to me. Anyway, what in heaven’s name does “the blessed trinity” have to do with being without funds, resources, or prospects, in other words, being like my Uncle Steve? What could those two very different concepts possibly have to do with one another?

But since I made “Down and Out” the title of the sermon, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that I think they have a lot in common. And although it’s probably a reach to relate it to Father’s Day, I think the Trinity is all about being down and out. That’s exactly what the triune God does for us or at least wants us to be. As a matter of fact, I believe that’s pretty much the point Paul is getting at in this conclusion to his second letter to the Corinthians, that when it come to God, down and out applies directly to us all. And praise the Lord it does.

Of course, if this still doesn’t make any sense, let me explain. But to do it, I’m going to change the order of the two short paragraphs we just read, because then I think it’ll make more sense. You see, based on how he blessed them in the very last sentence of his letter, I believe Paul wanted the Corinthians to realize that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had come down upon them. Now, that’s the “down” part. In other words, I think Paul wanted them to understand that the triune God was right there, working within his people. And I’ll tell you, that’s just as true today as it was then.

You see, right here and right now, “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ...is with all of [us].” Now to get what that means, it’s important to understand what this grace-business is all about. I mean, for Paul, grace is sort of the ultimate sign of generosity, shown to us by God through Jesus Christ. My gosh, just listen to what he wrote a little earlier in this same letter; he wrote: “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” In other words, through his life and death and resurrection, through this generous, this gracious act on the part of Christ, not only can we understand the love and the authority, the freedom of God, but we can also enter into a relationship with the creator of the universe. As we’ve been talking about in our Brown Bag study of John, through the word made flesh we have a connection with God we couldn’t get on our own. But that wouldn’t have been possible if the word hadn’t literally come down and pitched his tent among us. Right now, we’ve been given the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God.

But that’s not all, we’ve also been given “the love of God,” the Father; that’s with us too. And just knowing we’re loved by the creator of the universe, my goodness, that can make all the difference in how we live our lives. I’m telling you, it can give us the strength, it can give us the confidence, man, it can give us the faith to keep moving no matter how lousy life has become. It’s just like Paul wrote the Romans: “...we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us[. Why? B]ecause God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” It’s like the hymn says, “Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, love lifted me.” Now that’s good stuff. And what’s even better, listen to this: nothing, I mean, nothing can interfere with that love. Again, from Romans, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen. God’s love has come down upon us.

And even that’s not all; here comes “the communion of the Holy Spirit.” Before I say anything else, though, let me be clear. The communion Paul’s talking about isn’t what we’re going to share next week, you know, the Lord’s supper. No, here he was talking more about fellowship and sharing. And this is really what the Holy Spirit does; he shares with us the things of God. I mean, like we just heard, he shares with us God’s love. And like we talked about last week, the Spirit shares with us those gifts and qualities that make us the men and women God created us to be. You see, who we are and what we have and believe is the result of our communion with the Holy Spirit, which Paul reminds us came down upon us right along with the God the Father and Jesus Christ, God the son. Now, that’s the down part.

And why did God come down? Why did he come upon us with grace and love and communion? Well, I think we can find the answer in the first little paragraph of our reading. Just listen, “Finally, brothers, rejoice; amend your ways; encourage one another; be of one mind; be at peace. And the God of love and peace is with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.” You see, it’s the presence of God that enables us to go out, to go out and establish good relationships among ourselves and in the world.

In other words, when we accept that God is with us, that’s when we can rejoice, like Paul wrote to the Philippians, we can “rejoice in the Lord always.” But not only that, we’ll also be able to amend our ways, to change what we may need to change so that we can restore that wonderful sense of peace and hope we had when we first believed that our lives and our destinies and those of everybody we love, that they’re all in the hands of Christ, the one who lived and died and rose again for us all. Man, we can feel all that again because God is here. And then, as a congregation, as a body, I’m talking about a family, we can encourage and we comfort and we can console one another. And through God’s power, we can come together in humility and harmony and we can look after the interests of one another and by doing that, we can follow the example of Christ. And then as a community we can live in peace, man, we can be at peace among ourselves but also we can live peaceably with everybody. You see, because Christ has given us grace and God has shown us love and the Holy Spirit has brought all this up-close and personal, we can do exactly what Paul told us to do, we can greet one another with a holy kiss, the sign that in this place we have a relationship that’s genuine and special. I’m telling you, when we realize that God has come down upon, we’re able to go out and do what Paul challenges us to do.

And imagine what it’ll be like when that happens. Imagine how wonderful this place can be when there’s so much joy, there no room for griping and when everybody is looking to become as close to God as possible. I mean, just think about a place where everybody is looking to build up one another, not tear them down and where there’s so much harmony that we look and sound like a Hallmark Father’s Day card and where there’s so much humility that we’re actually competing to put the other person first. And I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be at peace with all my brothers and sisters, all of them, and to be able to greet every other Christian, knowing we’re all playing for the same team. My gosh, to be in a the church like that, that may be as close to paradise as we’re going to get during our lives here on earth.

And I’ve only been talking about what can happen on the inside. Just think about what impact a community like the one I’ve been describing, just think about the impact it could have in the world. I’ll tell you, I think most of our society has become so tired of Christians fighting with other Christians, they’ve gotten so weary of one group questioning the faith another over some point that’s no longer an issue for the rest of the world, and brothers and sisters, I believe they’re so sick of believers thrashing and hurting one another, a lot of them have just given up on the church, and you know, why shouldn’t they? I mean, why would anyone join a group in which they may be the next topic for gossip? But just think, if through our unity and harmony and joy we communicated a different message to the world, a positive message of grace and love and fellowship, I’m telling you, we’re going to see not just our city but our whole world change. It’s going happen when we step out.

Something that’s possible right here and right now because God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) came down upon us. And now, do you see why I hope when we leave here, we all feel down and out? And if that happens, if we accept the grace and love and communion and allow it to shape who we are and how we relate to others, not only is this something perfect for Trinity Sunday, but if we pull it off, it’ll make this a Father’s Day worth remembering.

Minute for Mission - World Refugee Day

On one crisp April day, the sun shining in an azure sky, hundreds of people walked across a stretch of road spanning a barren expanse referred to as "no man's land.'' As they walked this stretch of road they left one country behind, their homeland, the land of their parents and ancestors, and they entered a different country, one with different customs, different cultural norms, even a different language.

They walked across this stretch of concrete not for leisure but because another group of people with a different cultural, political, and religious background decided they were no longer welcome in their ancestral home. This other group was waging a campaign of armed conflict, threats, intimidation, and persecution to "cleanse the land.''

So these people had little choice: walk this road carrying the children, the infirm, and whatever material possessions they could, or remain behind and invite personal destruction.

Being a refugee means having the predictability of daily life ripped away. Refugees' lives are left to chance. Will they happen upon a sympathetic community, or will they find themselves in an inhospitable place with every basic necessity held at arm's length, daily bread never guaranteed? Will they be welcomed with understanding or forced to the walls and into detention, labeled an inconvenience or a threat to the status quo?

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are an estimated 10.5 million refugees globally. The UN defines refugees as ``persons who are outside their country and cannot return owing to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.''

As we acknowledge World Refugee Day, let us remember to show hospitality to strangers.

— James R. (Randy) Ackley, coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, General Assembly Mission Council

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - My Abba

Romans 8:12-17

12-14So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15-17This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!


A Devotion by Mary Joyce (Karnataka, India)

My father died in 1979 from cancer. He had served as a police officer with the government of Karnataka in South India. We called him “Appa,” which means “father” in Kannada, our local language. As was the custom during that time, daughters could not have open relationships or conversations with their fathers. Though we respected and honored our parents, we expressed our love to them only by obedience, never in words.

Only after his death did I realize how much I missed him. I longed to hold him and express the love and gratitude I could not express when he was living. Every day I think about him and thank God for giving him to me to be my father.

Whenever I read Romans 8:15, I rejoice in the everlasting love and concern of God and reflect on the kindness and mercy God shows in taking away our fear and calling us “children of God.”
We can also show our gratitude for this amazing love by reaching out to others to share the love of God with them.

Minute for Mission - Men of the Church

He did what to his wife? And with impunity, you say? Situations prompting statements such as these are what led my good and long-time friend, Dr. Catrelia Hunter, former moderator of Presbyterian Women (PW), to request that Presbyterian men partner with PW in their support of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). As a result, I became the ``token dude,'' as I was dubbed, in the PW delegation to the 2008 session of the CSW. Convinced that this effort merited the involvement of the National Presbyterian Men's Ministry (PM), I recommended such action to the organization. The men readily accepted the challenge, as combating domestic violence has long been a priority. This commitment extends that effort beyond our national borders.

As we prepared for the PM national conference in 2009, I received another call from Dr. Hunter. This time her request was that PM get involved in the effort to curb human trafficking, especially of women and children, in the United States. The men voted once again to become involved. Our present involvement in these two related efforts is one of education and advocacy. To extend our reach, we plan to enlist the involvement of other men's organizations.

Men not only have an obligation for active involvement in eradicating these practices - it is a requirement if real progress is to be made. Men are the chief beneficiaries of these practices and also the main instigators and perpetuators of them. Just as chattel slavery in this country could not have ended without the efforts of whites, some of them slaveholders, the controlling stakeholders must help end domestic violence and human trafficking as well.

In addition, much attention still is needed where gender inequity continues to exist, including the glass ceiling and the issues of unequal pay for the same or similar work.

— Robert James, moderator, National Presbyterian Men's Ministry

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Presbyterian Disaster Report Situation Report - Ohio Flooding

June 15, 2011

The Salt Creek Township in the western corner of Hocking County, Ohio, endured extreme thunder storms, high winds, and rain in mid-May. The National Weather Service estimates the area received six inches of rain in one hour. The rapid rainfalls lead to flooding.

While Salt Creek Township, the poorest section of Hocking County, suffered severe loss due to the flooding, unfortunately the projected damage costs are not high enough to meet the standards for State and Federal resources. This means that all assistance to the flooded families must come from local resources.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has provided One Great Hour of Sharing funds to the Presbytery of Scioto Valley for the benefit of a church taking a lead in the response. The First Presbyterian Church of Logan, Ohio, is working closely with the Long-term Planning Committee that has been formed in Hocking County. The committee is comprised of churches, community agencies and other parties interested in helping the community recovery. The pastor of First Presbyterian Church, The Reverend Larry Hoffmann, is serving as co-chair of the committee.

The first task of committee is to identify local people to serve as case managers. The case managers will serve as liaisons between affected families and the Long-term Planning Committee. The committee is also asking local volunteer teams to help provide for the immediate needs of the families. In addition to the helping families, the creek beds were being cleared of debris and other accumulated items as soon as possible to avert further flooding from new rainstorms.

Please pray for families in the Salt Creek Township and other Hocking County areas affected by the flooding. Pray that the hope of Christ will be evident to those trying to find ways to clean up and recover what they have lost, and for strength and wisdom for those offering support and assistance.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - The Anchor Holds

Hebrews 6:10-19

10God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won’t forget the love you have shown his people. 11We wish that each of you would always be eager to show how strong and lasting your hope really is. 12Then you would never be lazy. You would be following the example of those who had faith and were patient until God kept his promise to them.

13No one is greater than God. So he made a promise in his own name when he said to Abraham, 14“I, the Lord, will bless you with many descendants!” 15Then after Abraham had been very patient, he was given what God had promised. 16When anyone wants to settle an argument, they make a vow by using the name of someone or something greater than themselves. 17So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.

We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. 19This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place.

A Devotion by Tricia S. (Tennessee)

I huddled in a corner, tears flowing. Though the marks on my body were new, they were not unfamiliar. For years I had prayed for my husband, a Christian, and for an end to the beatings he inflicted in his rages. God had been my anchor as I grew up, and I wondered why God had not intervened to stop the abuse.

Earlier that evening as I left to attend a Christian concert, my husband had told me not to come back. When I returned, he threw me into a wall. This time, to my amazement, through my tears the words “I want a divorce” fell out of my mouth. And as they did, I felt the chains of fear and oppression lift. God whispered to me that I would never be hurt again by this man. That night, my Anchor held.

Until that very moment, I never understood how much God loved me or the vastness of God’s grace. God does not intend for any of us to be oppressed and abused, and God wanted a safe harbor for me. I am a living example of the words from the song, “the anchor holds, though the ship is battered.” I was battered, and I thank God for being my steadfast and true anchor. God helped me to leave the raging sea of abuse and led me to the freedom Christ offers and wants for each of us.

Announcements

The announcements are below as they appear in Sunday's bulletin.

OUR NURSERY FOR CHILDREN . . .
(infant thru five years) is open during Sunday School and the Worship Service, under the direction of Jenna Maine. We still need some volunteer help. If you can spare time to supervise the little ones please see Jenna after the service. We thank you in advance for caring for the future member of our Cove family. DON’T

FORGET SUNDAY SCHOOL . . .
we meet every Sunday morning at 9:45 a.m. Think about trying out one of our classes. We have a variety of classes to chose from to fit your needs.

WHEN WE BEGIN THE SERVICE. . .
our children carry red, orange and yellow streamers. This represents the coming of the Holy Spirit, filling the sanctuary as we prepare to worship. At the end of the service, they carry the streamers out, challenging us to carry the Spirit into the world.

JESUS TIME OFFERS THE YOUNGER CHILDREN . . .
of our congregation, between the ages of 3 and 11, the opportunity to worship in a special experience just for them. The children are dismissed to Jesus Time after a Special Time for Children.

BAKE SALE SUNDAY MORNINGS . . .
during June to assist with the Mission Trip scheduled for July. All baked goods welcome!

THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING . . .
we’ll be offering two opportunities to learn about Jesus and the beliefs of our church. At 5:00, Pastor Rudiger will lead a class for youth people who are considering following Jesus Christ as their Lord. And at 6:00, he’ll discuss what the Presbyterian Church believes with anyone who’d like to know.

TRUSTEE MONTHLY MEETING. . .
Monday, June 20 a 6:30 p.m. in the board room. Please try to attend, this will be our last meeting till September.

SESSION MONTHLY MEETING . . .
Tuesday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room. Please try to attend.

THE BROWN BAG BIBLE STUDY WILL MEET . . .
Thursday, 12:15 p.m. We're discussing the Gospel of John, and during this meeting we're looking at 1 John 2:1-29. Grab your lunch and join us as we study God’s word.

SUMMER COMMUNION . . .
will be observed next Sunday, June 26 during the morning worship.

CHURCH & OFFICE CLOSED . . .
Monday, July 4 in observance of the Independence Day Holiday.

SUMMER CAMPS . . .
Beaver Creek and Camp Presmont are offering a variety of camps this year for children of all ages and interests. Experience nature, swimming, fishing, and making crafts, while growing in your faith. View the different types of camps and their dates by checking out the bulletin board located in the main hallway downstairs or contact the church office for more information. Scholarships are available to children wishing to experience summer camp.

ANNUAL MISSION TRIP . . .
July 10 thru the 16, will again be centered around Kopperston, West Virginia. We will be working to make homes and churches safe, dry and warm. You do not need to be a professional, you just need a desire to help those in need and also a willingness to listen if they need someone to talk to. For more information or to pick-up a registration form contact Tim Connell at 304-748-5655 or stop-in the church office.

IF YOU LEAVE AN ITEM AT THE CHURCH . . .
for someone or for a specific committee, please take a moment to write the name of who is to receive the item. If there is no name on the item we will assume it is for the church in general.

WE ARE BLOGGING!
We now have six blogs that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They're listed below:
• The Cove Community (www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com) - This is for the whole church. I'll post sermons and announcements. I also invite y'all to send in material that you'd like to share with other members of the congregation. And please feel free to comment on anything you might read.
• Cove Kids (www.covekids.blogspot.com) - This is tailored for the preteen young people in our church. Again I'll post announcements. You're also invited to send in any writings, photographs and art work you'd like to post. And they don't have to all deal with the church. We also post artwork from Jesus Time.
• Glue (www.cove-glue.blogspot.com) - Our teens are running their own blog site; therefore, I have no idea what will be posted.
• Bible Talk (www.cove-bibletalk.blogspot.com) - We've established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary, and we're posting the pastor’s translation of the Greek text. We want you to read any or all of the passages and to leave any comment or ask any question that you feel is appropriate. Please include any research you've done. As we share our ideas and insights, we hope that we'll all come to a better and deeper understanding of the Bible. Each passage is linked to a website that offers some informative information.
• Let’s Talk About It (www.cove-talk.blogspot.com) - Through this site, we hope to encourage a conversation on a variety of topics. Since this blog is sponsored by a church, we expect most of the issues to involve the Christian faith. Still we don't want to limit ourselves or you. If you have a topic that you'd like us to discuss, include it as a comment to a previous issue. Please phrase it as a question and offer a summary of at least two positions. We'll add a new item to discuss every three weeks. We hope this challenges you to apply your faith to issues that are important to you.
• The Bible in a Year (www.cove-bibleinayear.blogspot.com/) - Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.

IT IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO HEAR PRAYER REQUESTS . . .
on Sunday mornings. If you would like to have someone added to the prayer chain please drop a short note into the collection plate with their name and any other information you would like to share. You may also call the church office or e-mail the church with the information.

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?. . .
if you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger please contact the church office. Also if you would like to be included in our weekly bulletin mailings contact the church office.

WE CAN ALWAYS DO A BETTER JOB MINISTERING . . .
to the needs within this congregation, community and world. Please feel free to offer any suggestions as comments.

LOOSE CHANGE OFFERING . . .
Session has approved the Deacons collecting a “Loose Change Offering” that will be used to assist the Deacons with their utility assistance outreach program for Weirton residents or Cove Church members. We hope church members can help with the assistance program by donating some of their spare change. A container is placed in the Narthex each Sunday morning before church. The Deacons thank you for your continuing support of their projects.

PLEASE SUPPORT . . .
Cove Presbyterian Church Community Birthday Calendar. This will be our Seventh Annual Issue. All profits this year will be used for the current roof project. If you have any questions concerning listings or about the calendar project, please contact the church office .It’s a wonderful way to remember all your important dates! We are encouraging all members to participate! Listing deadline is Friday, July 8th.

VASES OF FLOWERS. . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase. Silk flowers can be purchased for an additional cost. The flower calendar is located on the far wall in the church narthex or you can telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, the flowers will be placed in a plastic vase for you to take with you.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS. . .
newsletters from old friends or articles about or by members of Cove Church, check out the bulletin board located in the hallway by the church offices. Past event pictures are also on display in that area.

WE’RE UPDATING OUR PRAYER AND DEVOTION LINE . . .
about four times a week. If you would like to call and hear a devotional, please call 304-748-7900.

SHOP ON LINE . . .
use Good Search and Good Shop search engines to find what you are hunting for. Just list Cove Presbyterian Church as your charity and a percent of your purchase will come back to the church. It’s a simple way to raise money for the Cove Deacons while shopping for yourself!

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . .
• Used Can Tabs are being collected for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the main hallway downstairs.
• Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women and can be dropped off in the container located in the main hallway downstairs. These labels are being collected for the Weirton Christian Center.

All About Trinity Sunday

Basic Facts
Liturgical Color(s): White
Type of Holiday: Solemnity; Holy Day of Obligation
Time of Year: The Sunday After Pentecost
Duration: One Sunday
Celebrates/Symbolizes: The Holy Trinity
Alternate Names: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Scriptural References: Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; John 1:18; John 15:26

Introduction
Trinity Sunday, officially "The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity," is one of the few feasts of the Christian Year that celebrates a reality and doctrine rather than an event or person. On Trinity Sunday we remember and honor the eternal God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Pentecost, and lasts only one day, which is symbolic of the unity of the Trinity. The Eastern Churches have no tradition of Trinity Sunday, arguing that they celebrate the Trinity every Sunday. Westerners do as well, although they set aside a special feast day for the purpose.

The Trinity is one of the most fascinating - and controversial - Christian dogmas. The Trinity is a mystery. By mystery the Church does not mean a riddle, but rather the Trinity is a reality above our human comprehension that we may begin to grasp, but ultimately must know through worship, symbol, and faith. It has been said that mystery is not a wall to run up against, but an ocean in which to swim. The common wisdom is that if you talk about the Trinity for longer than a few minutes you will slip into heresy because you are probing the depths of God too deeply. The Trinity is best described in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, commonly called the Nicene Creed. Essentially the Trinity is the belief that God is one in essence (Greek ousia), but distinct in person (Greek hypostasis). Don't let the word "person" fool you. The Greek word for person means "that which stands on its own," or "individual reality," and does not mean the persons of the Trinity are three human persons. Therefore we believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are somehow distinct from one another (not divided though), yet completely united in will and essence. How can this be? Well, think of the sight of two eyes. The eyes are distinct, yet one and undivided in their sight. Another illustration to explain the Trinity is the musical chord. Think of a C-chord. The C, E, and G notes are all distinct notes, but joined together as one chord the sound is richer and more dynamic than had the notes been played individually. The chords are all equally important in producing the rich sound, and the sound is lacking and thin if one of the notes is left out.

The Son is said to be eternally begotten of the Father, while the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father through the Son. Each member of the Trinity interpenetrates one another, and each has distinct roles in creation and redemption, which is called the Divine economy. For instance, God the Father created the world through the Son and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at creation.

The Nicene definition of the Trinity developed over time, based on Scripture and Tradition. The Scriptures call the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit "God," yet the three are also clearly distinct. For instance, St. John gives Jesus the titles theos and monogenes theos (God and Only-Begotten God) and has Jesus saying that the Father and Son are one, yet in his gospel Jesus also states that the Father and Son are not one witness, but two (John 1:1, 18; 8:17-18; 10:30). So John tells us that Jesus is God but not God the Father? Jesus is one with the Father, but they constitute two witnesses? It is scriptures such as these that led to the development of the Trinity doctrine. The Church had to reconcile the Divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit with Jewish monotheism. Over time, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the Church reflected on the implications of God's nature, and even began using the word Trinity by the middle of the 2nd century to describe the relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit. When in the 4th century a presbyter named Arius denied the Father and Son were both true God and co-eternal, his bishop Alexander of Alexandria challenged him and deposed him. Eventually the Arian controversy spread, and the emperor Constantine, newly fascinated with Christianity, convened a council of bishops in AD 325 in Nicaea to deal with Arianism. It is there that the Church drew up the beginnings of the current Nicene Creed. In the latter half of the 4th century the Church dealt with those who specifically denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit, adding more text to the creed.

Ultimately, Trinitarianism posits a dynamic God, whose ultimate nature is beyond human conception, yet who voluntarily operates within the created world. Trinitarianism also shows a loving God that is willing to become as we are so that we may become like Him. The implications of believing in Arius' God, a God unwilling to involve himself in our redemption, but who instead sent an angel of the highest order, did not escape the earliest Christians. As St. Athanasius was fond of saying "that which has not been assumed has not been redeemed," meaning that unless God truly became completely human, we could not be fully redeemed, because only God Himself is capable of truly redeeming humanity; an angel does not have this ability. Thus, the Trinity is not about Greek philosophy or pointless metaphysical speculation, but about the heart of our salvation. For more information, please check out The Nicene Creed: Ancient Symbol of the Catholic Faith.

History
The Church has been celebrating the Trinity in its life and worship since the earliest days of the Church, as evidenced by the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The earliest known liturgies (including that contained in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus) include many references to the persons of the Trinity, including prayers that end with Trinitarian doxologies. Nonetheless, there was no general feast of the Trinity in the early Church. Over time, dioceses and churches began celebrating feasts of the Trinity locally, perhaps in response to Arianism. Early dates of the localized feasts include the first Sunday after Pentecost, or the first Sunday before Advent. Both placements have symbolic value. The post-Pentecost date celebrates the Trinity as the final celebration of the Church Year, after Christ's resurrection, ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The pre-Advent date, no longer observed, began the Church Year with the celebration of the Trinity, the source of all creation. Both show the importance of the Trinity as the foundation, beginning and end, of Christian belief and experience. Pope John XXII established the feast day for universal observance in the Western Church in AD 1334 on the present date. In addition to the yearly observance of Trinity Sunday, the Church's weekly, daily, and hourly worship is strongly Trinitarian in nature. Trinity Sunday has been especially popular in England, perhaps because Thomas Becket was consecrated on Trinity Sunday, AD 1162.

Symbols
Three Interlocking Rings
Musical Chord
Shamrock
The Chi-Rho
Equilateral Triangle

Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why Do So Many Christian Sects Not Believe in the Trinity?
Since the advent of the internet, many traditional Christians are coming in contact with groups that deny the Trinity. There is a laundry list of groups that deny the Trinity, including Messianics, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Apostolic Pentecostals. They all deny the Trinity for different reasons. All share one thing in common: a rejection of the historical Church's role as interpreter of Scripture.

Messianics are often Jews themselves, or probably more commonly, Gentiles who adopt Jewish customs, that accept that Jesus was the predicted Jewish Messiah. Being heavily influenced by Judaism, many Messianics (not all) deny that Jesus is God, because Jewish thought has traditionally denied the possibility of God becoming man. In addition, the idea of one God in three persons strikes many Jewish persons as too close to pagan polytheism. However, we must remember that Jewish thinkers have roundly rejected the claim that Jesus is the Messiah as well, so appealing to Jewish thought to settle a Christian doctrinal dispute creates problems.

Jehovah's Witnesses, members of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, a 19th century American Apocalyptic sect, deny the Trinity because they see no clear scriptural evidence for it. They make an issue of the doctrine of the Trinity because the word itself is not in Scripture. However, many theological words and concepts they use are not in Scripture either, and as Catholics and Orthodox, we have not set up the same criterion: that in order for something to be true the word identifying it must be in Scripture. We also must remember that Scripture must be interpreted. Rather than looking to the witness of the historical Church, whose views of Scripture span all time periods and regions, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many other American groups from the late 19th century, rely on rationalist and mechanistic principles of Scriptural interpretation heavily influenced by the 18th century Enlightenment. There is little room for mystery in this modernistic system of interpretation. While Jehovah's Witnesses have been called modern-day Arians, they are only Arians in regard to their understanding of the Trinity; Arius would not recognize many of their distinctive 19th century American trappings.

Some groups, namely the United Pentecostal Church, believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all God. However, they believe that they are not distinct in any way, but one being that changes roles. For instance, when God created, he played the role of Father. When God came to earth, he played the role of Son. This is called Modalism or Sabellianism, and is even older than Arianism. The problem with this theory is that it doesn't take into account the differences the Scriptures give to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As St. John writes, the Father and Son are two witnesses, not one. Also, the Scriptures have all three persons interacting at once. Many Christians unknowingly hold to this view because on the surface it seems the most appealing. However, upon reflection it creates many philosophical and historical problems, including that this theory has all of God being crucified on the cross. This why Modalism is often called patripassianism, "suffering Father," because Modalistic theology ends up with a crucified God the Father.

2. Is the Trinity Pagan? Why Should We Celebrate a Pagan Day?
Many pagan religions did have triads of gods. However, before we jump to too many conclusions, we must remember that many other Christian doctrines are well-paralleled in pagan religions: the resurrection, baptism, and the virgin birth. In fact, scholars of comparative religion have studied the pagan dying and rising agricultural deities and written on their similarity to Jesus. A type of baptism was common in many Greek "mystery cults," and this pagan baptism had many similarities to the Christian rite. Also, virgin births were somewhat common in pagan literature, and famous pagan heroes were often born under remarkably similar circumstances as that of Jesus. What does all of this prove? Very little really. Do these facts render the resurrection, baptism, and the virgin birth untrue? No.

Even if someone could prove that Christians purposely borrowed these doctrines from pagans (which I will not grant, because the thesis is far too simplistic), it still doesn't make them untrue or evil. Pagan religions all had some elements of truth, and according to C.S. Lewis, it makes Christianity more true that it shares things in common with other religions. As far as I know, the Trinity is unlike any other pagan triad, which are often either clearly tritheistic or modalistic. The concept of three persons sharing one Divine essence is uniquely Christian, and as outlined above, based on the witness of Scripture, Tradition, and the implications of salvation and redemption. Celebrating the Trinity is thus celebrating a loving and dynamic God.

3. Based on the Information in this Article, was the Trinity Invented in 325 AD?
No. Truth unfolds, or rather, the implications and hows and whys of certain truths unfold. It took a hundred years after Jesus' birth for a gospel clearly outlining Jesus' divinity to appear, even though the earliest gospels hint at Jesus having the authority and attributes of God. The Old Testament hints at many Christian doctrines, but they were not made clear until hundreds of years later. The delay in officially dogmatizing the Trinity does not mean that God was not a Trinity until AD 325, or that the early Christians did not believe in some type of Divine Triad. Rather, over time, with reflection and with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the Church came to a deeper understanding of God's nature. The same happened in the Old Testament, as we witness the Jewish people come to a deeper understanding of God, the afterlife, and other concepts that are more clearly developed in later biblical writings than earlier ones. Thus, in the Church and the Bible, later explanations of certain truths (like the Trinity) will be more complex than earlier explanations. Remember that the Church, starting in the New Testament, bestowed upon the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the title "God": In 325 AD (and at other times), the Church simply clarified the nature of the relationship among the three persons.

Trinity Sunday, Trinitarian, and Church Year Books
The Mystery of the Trinity (Bobrinskoy)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Holy Bible: New Jerusalem Bible
Christian Prayer: Liturgy of the Hours
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Cross and Livingstone, eds.)
New St. Joseph People's Prayer Book
The Study of Liturgy (Jones, ed.)
Spirit of the Liturgy (Ratzinger)
More Christian & Church Year Books

Prayer Requests

The following are needs we'll lift to God on Sunday. If you have anyone to add, please let us know. Thanks.

Adults
• Virginia Welch
• Phyllis Manley
• John Brothers
• Rhonda Bruich
• Paul Buck
• Mr. & Mrs. Mario Whitehead & Joyce
• Dave Bever
• Taylor Harris
• Pam Haller
• Bonnie Kirtley
• Rachael
• Connie Francis
• Mary & Jack Games
• Jennifer Dahlem
• Charles Saffle
• Bob Saffle
• Andrea Vincent
• Rose Mader
• Jimmy Jones
• Christy Cybulski
• Chum Robert
• Andy DiRemigio
• Donna Jenkins
• Bill Churchman
• Judy Dobbins
• Greta Billham
• Don Billham
• Nick Palavis
• John F. Roberts
• Vicki Williams
• Betty
• Charley
• Eleanor Williams
• Julia Maine
• Ruth Gilmore
• Karen Tomich
• Maxine Bulick
• Melaine & Denny
• Karen Wilson
• Dr. James W. Valuska, Sr.
• Kelly Stephens
• Scott Roach
• David Crow
• Joanna Tsiftis Xylas
• Ijawoye Oludare
• Loretta Hess
• Paul Pulice
• Kim Smuck
• Mike Burdette
• Derek Trifonoff

Kids
• Jonah Becker
• Shelby Kamarec
• Brody McUmor
• Zoe Purcell
• Daisy Emmerick
• Georgie Platt
• Audri King
• Brandon Wares
• Hunter Stafford
• Michael Liptak
• Justus Loughry
• Jeffrey Konovich
• Sierra Huey
• Maia Metcalf
• Kya Schwertfeger

Military
• Michael Criss
• Jonathan Criss
• Chad Peppler
• Kendra Mader
• Stephen Mader

Troops
Our troops all around the world need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety.

Church Families
• Judy Jackson
• The Jerrel family
• Darlene Johnson

Local Church
Evangel Baptist Church

Other Presbyterian Churches
• Rock Hill Presbyterian Church in Bellaire, Ohio where The Rev. Stan Fedyszyn is Pastor
• Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bergholz, Ohio where The Rev. Alan Jeffries is Pastor

In the Hospital
• Robert Powelson - Weirton Medical Center

Special Friends
• Dorothy & Charles Saffle, 10 Wyngate Drive, Weirton, WV  26062-5048

Also Remember in Prayer
Chambrel at Montrose, 100 Brookmont Rd, Akron OH 44333-3091
• Thelma Longacre, Unit 210

Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr, Weirton WV 26062
• Father of Mary Ann Ianni

The Laurels, 500 Stanton Blvd, Steubenville OH 43952
• Ruth Gilmore

Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062
• Marge Black, Room 353
• Mary Kay DePaolo
• Dorothy Sobolak, Room 223
• Bob Morgan
• Mike Valiga
• Alice Orr

Serra House Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Drive, Weirton WV 26062-3664
• Julia Maine

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Presbyterian Diaster Assistance Situation Report - Virginia tornado


June 15, 2011

On Wednesday, April 27, an F-3 tornado cut a swath through Washington County, Virginia; especially hard hit was the community of Glade Spring. The Glade Spring Presbyterian Church is located in this community and, though not directly hit, was damaged as follows. The sanctuary and main building received minor damage; the fellowship/mission building received major damage to one of its walls; the grounds and cemetery were heavily damaged. Four persons in the community (none from the church) were killed, while members of the church and community were personally injured and their homes damaged or destroyed.

The Glade Spring Presbyterian Church has been the focus for organizing assistance to the church and community. Disaster response organizations have used the church as a central location to house and direct their response efforts. Churches from the presbytery have sent work teams to assist with clean up where needed as well as monetary donations. At this time, volunteers from outside of the area are not being requested.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has provided funds from One Great Hour of Sharing and designated gifts to help the Presbytery of Abingdon and the Glade Spring Presbyterian Church in the community response efforts. Members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) also met with Presbyterian leadership to help with assessments and other needs.

Please continue to pray for those in the Glade Spring area and others affected by tornadoes and storms this spring. Pray that the hope of Christ will be evident to those who lost homes and loved ones, and for strength for those offering support and assistance.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A New Devotion on Our Prayer Line - God’s Complete Love

Matthew 10:29-31

29-31“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.


A Devotion by Angela Pisel (North Carolina)

Soon after my daughter, Gracie, turned three, she started chemotherapy. Six months of treatment were needed to help her fight a rare form of eye cancer. As I contemplated what lay ahead, I was paralyzed by fear. How could this be happening? I asked myself. “Why my daughter?” I asked God.

Shortly after her first treatment, Gracie’s hair began to fall out. My heart broke when she handed me a fistful of long blonde curls. “Help me comfort her,” I quietly asked God. “I can’t do this without you.”

Immediately, an amazing calm came over me. I remembered Matthew 10:30. God’s love for Gracie is so complete that “even the very hairs of [her] head are all numbered.” I held Gracie and lovingly brushed her hair. As more of her hair fell out, I reassured her that God knows everything that is happening to us. No matter what we are going through, God is with us, holding us as I held her.

Now, years later, when I brush Gracie’s long, blonde hair I am reminded of God’s love. When I look through scripture, I read that God can be trusted. Jesus says that God is aware of everything that happens even to the sparrows. No matter what we are going through, whether illness, loneliness, or separation, God is with us. God values us enough to count each strand of our hair.