Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - A New Creation for a New Year

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Image result for a new creationA New Creation for a New Year

Right now, we’re entering a new year. Of course, I recognize that a new year is just a number that it’ll take a while for most us to remember when filling out a form or writing a check. Neither the history of the world nor the course of our lives will change because of we’ll write a 7 rather than a 6. But even though I think we all understand that’s true, the move from one year to the next certainly has symbolic value. And because of that, it may offer us the opportunity to make some changes in both our attitudes and our actions, you know, how we see our world and what we choose to do about it.

And so, with that in mind, as we enter this new year, maybe it’s a good time to listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians and decide that we’re going to live as though we really are new creations, that “everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” In other words, maybe this is a wonderful time to live as though we really believe that not only our past has been cleansed through Jesus Christ but so has the past of others; therefore, we might want to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and them for their weaknesses. And maybe it’s a wonderful time to live as though we believe that our destinies are in the hands of a loving and merciful God, one whom we can count on to guide us through the dark valley into the glorious light of a new heaven and a new earth. And maybe it’s time to accept the presence of God which surrounds us and fills us all the time but that we generally fail to recognize much less claim. And even though we always have this opportunity before us, maybe this is the perfect time to live as a new creation for a new year.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 31, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 31, 2016: Today, our passages are  Malachi 3:1–4:6; Revelation 22:1-21; Psalm 150:1-6; and Proverbs 31:25-31 .  The readings are from  The M...

Sunday Minute for Mission — Princeton Theological Seminary

“I pray that … Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”  (Ephesians 3:17)

Image result for Farminary Project Princeton SeminaryThe text above, from the letter to the Ephesians, reminds us that the love of God anchors and sustains us. It is the firm ground underneath our feet. It is the fertile soil in which we are rooted, allowing us to grow and flourish. Scripture is full of images from the agricultural world that describe God’s kingdom.

Image result for Farminary Project Princeton Seminary
At Princeton Theological Seminary, agriculture is more than a metaphor—it is one of the ways that our community experiences the love of God. The Farminary Project is a new initiative at Princeton Seminary in which theological education takes place in the garden, in direct contact with God’s good earth. The Farminary recalls the roots of farming deep within the Christian tradition, while also providing a training ground for innovation that will equip our students to lead changing communities. The farm is a fertile training ground for pastoral ministry, for it cultivates capacities of patience and diligence, the ability to grow new things, and an understanding of life and death.

As students labor alongside one another in the garden, they see Scripture in fresh light and learn about issues of hunger, sustainability, and food production that affect the church and the world. Above all, they deepen the bonds of Christian friendship. As the project’s director, Nate Stucky (’15 PhD), explains: “The Farminary initiative is a place where love grows—love for God, for each other, for the broader community, and for creation.”  In the garden, these students are learning what it means to be rooted and grounded in love.  

M. Craig Barnes, President, Princeton Theological Seminary

Let us pray

Holy God, in love you created the world and all that is in it. You appointed humanity as stewards of creation and beacons of your light. Teach us to care for our neighbors and for the world that you love. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Friday, December 30, 2016

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on John 14:1-3

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday’s worship service

On Sunday, January 1, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Adults
Amy Slisik
Audrey Vincent
Betty Michael
Bruce Mader
Carol Baker
Chad Pepper
Chad Wilson
Cindy Kuzel
Clyde Flesher, Sr.
Darcy Keffer
David Johns
Debbie Zuccaro
Debi Edge
Emery Edwards
Faith Bonyak
Gen Meyer
George & Mary Shepherd
Greta Billham
Jan Jackson
Jim & Shelley Pearson
Jim Neil
Joanie Lawrence
Josh and Dee
Karen Lombardi
Katy Allen
Kay Hyde
Kevin Kuzel
Linda Spencer
Marcia Cooper
Marge Oslett
Matthew Kirtley
Michael Shade
Mike Churchman
Minnie Pazich
Miranda Flesher
Patricia Cox
Paul Welch
Phyllis Manley
Randal Kane
Richard Ballard
Rocco Zuccaro
Ronnie Buffington
Sally Robinson
Sandra Duckworth
Sharon Wheeler
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Susie Hawkins
Twinkle Smith
Vicki Williams
Wayne Channing

Children
Elijah Parker
Jameson Criss
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Lily Ghrist
Meadow Abbett
Michael Daugherty
Mitch Almason
Wyatt Smith

Military
Isaac Stephens
Jason Kerr
Jonathan Criss
Justin Schmalstieg
Kara Criss
Michael Criss

Church Families
Charlene Means
Elizabeth Messerly
Gen & Joe Meyer

Local Church
Tri-State Church of God

Special Friend
Audrey Vincent – 4001 Palisades Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-4328

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations 
Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV – Rev. Dr. Ed Rudiger
Oakland Presbyterian Church, Weirton, WV – Pastor Randall Krebs

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Carl Hamill – Serra Manor, Apt. 11, 205 Serra Manor, Weirton, WV  26062
Dolores Edwards – Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Harry Hutch – Villa Vista, Room 406, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
June Virtue – Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-3664
Theresa Skiles – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Ruth Ann Oestering – Woodland Hills, 608 North 10th St., Weirton, WV  26062

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

Below are the announcements as they appear in the Sunday bulletin.

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
By tradition, the Christmas season is regarded as consisting of twelve days, and ends with the Epiphany.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT BEFORE THE SERVICE . . .
the Rev. Rudiger pours water into the baptismal font even though we might not have a baptism on that particular Sunday. Here’s the reason. Since baptism is one of the pillars of our identity as Christians, this is a reminder that we’re united as members of the Body of Christ. It represents a gift given to us by God, one that we can’t earn and don’t deserve. As we move forward as a congregation, it’s important to remember and to celebrate the sacrament that unites us. And since Jesus said that part of making disciples of all nation involves baptizing them, it’s also a reminder of the mission we’ve been given.

“JESUS TIME” IS SPECIAL TIME FOR . . .
all our children and young people. This Sunday School experience offers them the opportunity to learn the Bible story and apply that story to their lives. “Jesus Time” meets at 11:00 a.m. and runs until the end of the Worship Service. If you have children and teens, ask one of the greeters to direct you to the children’s location.

OUR TUESDAY EVENING STUDY . . .
will meet on Tuesday, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. to continue a series entitled “On the Road Again: A Study of Luke/Acts.”  During this session, we’ll continue to look at Luke 12:1 – 14:35

THE BELL CHOIR . . .
will practice on Saturday, at 11:00 a.m.

CHOIR WILL REHEARSE . . .
Sundays, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. They’ll rehearse in the choir room each Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30.

BOARD MEETINGS IN JANUARY
The Deacons will meet on Monday, January 2, at 6:30 pm.
The Session will meet on Sunday, January 8, at 9:00 am.
The Trustees will meet on Monday, January 9, at 6:30 pm.

THE CHURCH COULD USE YOUR LOOSE CHANGE.
In the narthex, there’s a fish bowl where you’re invited to leave any pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters you might have rattling around in your pocket or purse.

THE SESSION HAS SCHEDULED OUR ANNUAL MEETING . . .
for Sunday, January 22, immediately after worship. If you have material for the annual report, please have it to the office no later than January 15.

QUARTERLY GIVING STATEMENTS AND OFFERING ENVELOPES . . .
are on the table in the narthex.

WE APPRECIATE ALL THOSE WHO ARE OFFERING . . .
their time and special gifts to the church. In particular, we thank the following:
We thank Ray Seifert for directing our choir, Sue Willson for directing the bells, and Peggy Baldt for running our sound system during the service.
We thank Dean Allen, Rick Baldt and T.J. Smith for the repairs they’ve done around the church.
We thank Chris Connell, Debbie Seifert, Heather Campbell, and Diana Durst for volunteering to chaperone the scouts.
Finally, all those who offer their time, talent and money to further the God’s Kingdom.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO OFFER A COUPLE OF HOURS TO THE CHURCH . . .
we need volunteers for Wednesday evenings to chaperone the Cub Scouts. If you’re available, please tell the pastor or call the church office.

A SPIRITUAL MESSAGE . . .
can be found by calling 304-748-7900 Cove’s Prayer Line. You can call at anytime to hear a message by Rev. Rudiger. The messages are changed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  You can also hear the devotion at covepresbyterian.podbean.com and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian). You can also read the devotion at www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com.

YOU CAN NOW MAKE DONATIONS THROUGH PAYPAL . . .
by go on the link you can find in our daily e-mails and on our website (covepresbyterian.org) and all our blog. We can also help you set up a PayPal account, if you don’t already have one.

WE ARE UPDATING OUR PRAYER CHAIN . . . 
regularly. If you wish to add someone, contact the church office.

IF YOU’RE IN THE KROGERS COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM . . .
your enrollment is valid for 12 months from the registration date. You will need your Kroger rewards card number. To confirm that your registration is still active or to re-register you can contact Kroger customer service at this number: 1-866-221-4141. If you need to re-register all you'll need is your Kroger Card number and  our Cove Church number which is 80270. All that is required is that you go to Kroger.com; Community; Rewards; Enroll Now; type in Cove and hit search; click on Cove Presbyterian; click on Enroll Now. Please check your receipt the next time you shop, the bottom should read You requested Kroger to donate to Cove Presbyterian Church. If you need help with this process just call the church office, and Heather Campbell will be happy to assist you.

WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR AMAZON SMILE,
you get the same products and service we expect from Amazon except the Church gets .5% of every qualifying purchase. The Amazon Smile registration for first time users is https://smile.amazon.com/Ch/55-0462066. You only have to register once then go to www.smile.amazon.com to place orders.

WE NOW HAVE FIVE BLOGS . . . 
that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They’re listed below:
The Cove Community - This is for the whole church. I’ll post sermons and announcements.
Cove Kids - This is tailored for the 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.
Bible Talk - We’ve established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary.
The Bible in a Year - Each day, we’ll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.
Growing in Grace - Although we’re saved by God’s grace, we can grow in our understanding of grace. At Cove Presbyterian Church, we offer a variety of different classes for children and adults, many of which are recorded and posted on our PodBean page (covepresbyterian).

IF YOU’RE ABLE AND WILLING TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION . . .
so that some of homebound members are able to attend our worship services, please tell the pastor or another member of session.

SERMONS, DEVOTIONS, LESSONS, AND ESSAYS ARE AVAILABLE ON . . .
the Cove PodBean page (covepresbyterian.podbean.com) and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian).

IF YOU’RE ONLINE . . .
“like” us on Facebook (Cove Presbyterian Church) or join our Facebook group (The Cove Community). You can also connect with Pastor Rudiger on Instagram (rev_ed).

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?
f you know of someone who is in the hospital please contact the church office, due to privacy laws the hospital is unable to contact us. If you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger or to receive communion please contact the church office. Also, if you would like to receive the Sunday Bulletin contact the church office.

IF YOU DON’T PLAN TO TAKE YOUR BULLETIN HOME . . .
drop it in the purple container at the back door so that it can be recycled.

VASES OF FLOWERS . . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase.  You may also purchase silk flowers or live plants, the choice is yours.  Telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, we’ll place the flowers in a vase for you to take.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . . 
Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Weirton Christian Cent er.  The labels including the bar code or just the bar code can be dropped off in the container located in the hallway downstairs.
Greeting Cards are being collected by the Myrtle McHendry Class. Please drop off your used Greeting Cards or just the front of the card in the box located in the main hallway downstairs. No envelopes -please. The cards are being sent to St. Jude’s  Ranch to be remade into cards to be sold in their gift shop.  FYI . . Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting Cards can not be accepted as they are trade marked.
Can Tabs are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the hallway downstairs.

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, January 1, 2017

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin. The title of the sermon is "Sobering Up,” and we’ll discuss the nature of the world and consider how Christ might help us cope.







Friday's Essay - We Resolve

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this message by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal

Related imageNow that Christmas is over and we’re standing on the threshold of a new year, it’s about time to make some resolutions. Of course, most of these promises involve personal things we’d like to change, you know, like eating habits or even church attendance. They reflect tangible alterations that may come at the end of a year of nagging, and I’m thinking about losing weight or stopping smoking. They may even involve the mind or the spirit, maybe reading that book that’s been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years or that Bible we said we’d read last year. Now, in my own life, these are the kind of things I generally resolve to do before the next December 31st. Of course, if you’re anything like me, I never seem to get past the promise phrase. I mean, even when my motivation is good and my intentions sound, it doesn’t take long for me to fall off the wagon, and eat that last pork chop even though I’m not really hungry and stop weighing myself so that I never really know whether I’m losing or not and hide the book because I feel judged every time I see its jacket. Of course, that may be just me. The rest of humanity may have an astounding success rate. But to tell the truth, I rather doubt it. As a matter of fact, we might all be more successful with our new year resolutions it we decided to just cut out the baloney and just resolve to fail. Now that’s a resolution I can keep.

But this year, I think there’s another possibility we might want to try. But instead of it being something relatively specific and maybe superficial, we can make a resolution that can and will shape what we do and how we live for at least the next twelve month. And it’s something that’s profoundly biblical, even spiritual, and that will, I guarantee, make an enormous difference in the lives of others. And here it is: we can resolve to love one another. That’s it, simply to love one another.

But before we just mouth the words, knowing that what it actually means and how we can actually do it can be incredibly vague, I think it would be an excellent idea to ground this love business in something that’s a little more concrete and measurable than just an emotion or a feeling. And I’ll tell you, I don’t think there’s a better place to look for what I’m talking about than the thirteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. You see, although these verses have become part and parcel of countless marriage services, given the context for the chapter, I think Paul was writing about more than the relationship between husband and wife. I mean, this is part of what Paul wrote:
Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.
Image result for love your neighbor
Now, I think this is powerful stuff. But more than that, I think it can be done. You see, I think what he wrote points to some things we’re able to exorcize from our character. For example, we can sure work on jealousy issues and an inflated ego and a lack of common courtesy. And we can definitely stop resenting the success of those around us and flying off the handle and totting up the wrongs done by others just so that we have something really juicy to tell our friends. These are things I believe most of us could reduce. While, at the same time, we can incorporate a little more kindness and patience into our relationships, even those that may frustrate the puddin out of us. And we can actually seek and celebrate the truth, you know, real honesty, rather than to disregard it because it might get in the way of some rumor or innuendo. And as we consider what ties us to our spouses and children, friends and neighbors, even members of our community and congregation, we can decide that we’re going to be supportive, even though we don’t think they deserve it. And we can be loyal, even though that may mean sacrificing some of ourselves for a friend. And we can be hopeful, believing that God is the one in control. And we can be trusting, confident that regardless of what happens, God’s going to lead us to the other side. Now, according to Paul, this is what love is all about. And I believe it’s something that we’re capable of doing.

Of course, even if we resolve to love one another, we can still moderate our eat and increase our church attendance. We can pass on both the whipped cream and the Winstons. And we can sure take that book down, dust it off and start to read. You see, none of these things are contrary to love. But, if the kind of love Paul described is what we decide to do, then the impact on ourselves and on others may be far greater than all that other stuff we’ll probably stop doing soon after the first.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 30, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 30, 2016: Today, our passages are  Malachi 1:1–2:17; Revelation 21:1-27; Psalm 149:1-9; and Proverbs 31:10-24 .  The readings are from  The ...

Phoenix Presbyterian Community Outreach

Sunday's Minute for Mission - University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

Using God’s gifts for God’s glory

Talented college student seeks to share his faith and God’s love

If it’s true—according to a children’s hymn—that “all God’s creatures got a place in the choir,” then Caleb Chincoya is an overachiever.

The multi-talented 21-year-old college senior takes up at least five spots—playing guitar, bass, congas, drums, and piano—in the band.

Caleb Chincoya with his guitar after undergraduate chapel
at the University of Dubuque. —Nicky Story
Chincoya, a computer information technology major at the University of Dubuque, traces his love of music to the profound influence and considerable gifts of his uncle Lemuel Velasco, with whom he and his mother moved to the U.S. from Mexico when Chincoya was just six years old.

“When we first came to the U.S., my uncle was the worship leader at the church we were in, and I just really enjoyed the beat of the music in general,” Chincoya said. “I started off with the congas when I was six or seven, and then, when I saw my uncle playing the guitar, I just picked it up and messed with it until I got it. My uncle taught me the mechanics, but rhythm was always natural to me.”
Chincoya’s goal in high school—where he served as assistant to the band teacher—was to learn as many instruments as possible. But all toward a specific end.

“God has given me the gift of music and I’ve been trying to use it in my life,” said Chincoya. “When I look at the talents that I have, I ask myself, ‘How am I using them to glorify God?’ Because if I’m not using them in a positive sense, then what’s the point? If God is the reason I’m alive, what’s the point of doing something that’s not for him?”

Caleb Chincoya sings with fellow students on
the University of Dubuque quad. —Daniel T. Gashangi
Chincoya cites a favorite passage from the Gospel of John (6:66–68) in which Jesus explains to a crowd of his disciples what it takes to follow him. “Most of them turn around and say, ‘How can we follow something like this?’” he said. “Then Jesus turns to the twelve and asks, ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Peter’s response is then, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’ In the same fashion, I think my parents have dedicated their lives to serving God because of the same answer, ‘Where else would we go?’ Because he’s our Savior, and because I’ve seen my life as being shaped by God and my parents, where else would I go?”

Although Chincoya has played in a jazz ensemble before audiences at such venues as the Heritage Center at the University of Dubuque,  his worship leadership in the campus ministry there—as well as having provided music for the PC(USA)’s last two Big Tent events—have proven most transformational.

“I think that when you’re playing music that is not worship for God, there is an expectation of perfection in order to connect with people who tend to be more literate in music,” he said. “When it’s for worship, it doesn’t matter when I mess up or play the wrong chord. I think worship is an environment where people understand that it’s not for us, but for someone greater.”

While Chincoya has amassed a long list of accolades and achievements throughout his nearly four years at the University of Dubuque—including having been elected both Student Government Association president and president of the Christian Leadership Council—he at one time wondered whether he could even afford to attend college.

And then the connectional church stepped in.

Members and staff of Denver Presbytery—including the Rev. Tom Sheffield, the Rev. Amy Mendez, Raquel Yslas, and the Rev. Joe Mares, Chincoya’s pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Aurora, Colorado—connected him and his family to scholarships available through the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office for Financial Aid.

“We looked for scholarships that would help anybody without necessarily needing a Social Security number,” said Chincoya. “Scholarships have helped all of my family, including my uncle, who is trying to become an ordained pastor through the University of Dubuque’s distance program, while working a full-time construction job and being an assistant pastor at the Aurora church. It’s been a lot to manage, and there were days when he didn’t sleep, but he has been a great influence on me. I know I can do it because I have a great example of someone who has done much more.”

Mendez, who serves as pastor for Church Development and Multiracial Ministries for the Presbytery of Denver, has known Chincoya—whom she calls “a blessing in my life and ministry”—since he was young. She has had the privilege to watch him grow and mature as a young adult.

“Caleb is a true dreamer,” Mendez said. “Despite all the challenges his family has confronted in the U.S., Caleb has been able to make the right choices in his young life. For instance, his dream to go to college. His mother did not know how was she going to pay for his college tuition, but his academic discipline, determination, and his hard work have enabled him to actively pursue higher education. In the local church and in the Presbytery of Denver, we feel very proud to have supported and invested in Caleb’s dream to complete his undergraduate degree.”

One of the national scholarships for which Chincoya applied—and subsequently received—was a Student Opportunity Scholarship from the PC(USA). The Student Opportunity Scholarship serves PC(USA) college students by providing need-based aid for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are full-time, first degree students attending accredited institutions in the U.S. Students are awarded up to $2,000 for no more than three years.

He was also one of two seniors who were awarded a $1,500 supplemental award for service. In addition to his elected campus office, Chincoya has served as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate at the PC(USA) General Assembly, a camp counselor at Highlands [Presbyterian] Camp and Retreat Center in Allenspark, Colorado, and last summer he was a youth pastor intern at his home church in Aurora.

“Without people like Amy, Raquel, Joe, and Tom, I wouldn’t necessarily be where I am right now,” said Chincoya. “The connections in our church come a lot through the actual people. They show a lot of love for what God is calling them to do, which is to share opportunities with others.”

Even though he will graduate this spring, Chincoya has already started work on his M.Div. degree through the University of Dubuque’s 3/3 Program, which allows students to complete both the B.A. and the M.Div. degrees in six years.

“I think the assumption is that everyone who enters seminary will become a pastor, but I think that seminary is the place where we go to understand God more in depth,” he said. “If I’m going to show others what God is about and they ask questions, I need to provide actual sources, biblical citations, and know the history of how these things happened. Going to seminary is an important part of continuing to grow my faith and share it with others.”

Emily Enders Odom, Mission Communications Strategist

Today’s Focus: University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

J. Herbert, Nelson, III, OGA
Debbie Newnum, PMA

Let us pray

Most powerful creator and gracious God, be our guide. Inspire us to build unity and trust among your people in our presbyteries. Teach us to live as you would have us live. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on Matthew 11:28

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - My Wonderful Wife

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Isaiah 12:1-6

  You will say in that day: 
     I will give thanks to you, O LORD, 
          for though you were angry with me, 
     your anger turned away, 
          and you comforted me.

  Surely God is my salvation; 
          I will trust, and will not be afraid, 
     for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; 
          he has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4And you will say in that 
day: 
     Give thanks to the LORD, 
          call on his name; 
     make known his deeds among the nations; 
          proclaim that his name is exalted.

  Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; 
          let this be known in all the earth. 
  Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, 
          for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

My Wonderful Wife

Image result for longsuffering wifeI think there’s a reason why people at church say to my wife, “I pray for you all the time.” I’ve got to admit; I’m no prize. You see, I have moody tendencies and tender feelings. I’m not nearly as patient as I could be, and I take too many things personally. I worry too much and probably spend too little time at home. And having said this, I feel as though I’ve just scratched the surface. There are all kinds of other stuff going that I’d never write down, because I plan to keep them all neatly hidden from everybody, except from her. This is who I am in a nut shell. And yet, in spite of all this mess that she didn’t create, my wife still loves me, and I don’t think she’s going to leave me anytime soon. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I’m not aware when she’s frustrated or disappointed. At those times, there’s a distinct chill in the air. But even then, I can trust that she still loves us. Imagine that. She still loves me.

And I’ll tell you, even though that’s remarkable, God loves me and us even more. But I can tell you, it’s not because of us. You see, I think we tend to be moody and over sensitive and impatient. And often we see ourselves as the center of the universe, and we believe that our desires and our feelings are more important than those experienced by others. Now that’s who we are. And yet, God still loves us, and Jesus still saves us, and the Holy Spirit still inspires us. And even when we feel separated from that love and salvation and inspiration, the Lord is always close and his mercy and compassion will never fail. You see, we can always trust that God still loves us. Imagine that. He still loves us.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 29, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 29, 2016: Today, our passages are  Zechariah 14:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Psalm 148:1-14; and Proverbs 31:8-9 .  The readings are from  The M...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on Luke 2:28-32

New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - A Member of the Family

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

1 John 5:1-5

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Image result for redhead familyA Member of the Family

There are certain traits that often indicate whether or not a person is a member of a particular family. For example, it may be something physical, you know, like blue eyes or red hair or a perfect complexion. Or it may be something emotional, like maybe a cheerful disposition or a positive outlook or Job-like patience. Of course, it may be some completely random factor that just makes a person feel at home, like the willingness to eat oyster stuffing or a passion for a particular football team or even knowing all the presidents in order. But the “what” really doesn’t matter, I think for most families certain characteristics separate those who truly belong from those who just hover around on the edge. And even if a person has been officially born or married into the clan, they’ll probably never feel at home until that trait is acquired.

And as this passage reminds us, that applies to God’s family as well. You see, we’re been made the children of God by his will and not our effort. That’s a given. But there’s something we can look at that will enable us to know that we’re part of the family. And it has nothing to do with any physical trait or emotional tendency or random factor. Instead, we can trust that God has made us his sons and daughters when we make the decision to obey the commandments of God. And even though, given the length of the Law, that may seem impossible, I think we need to remember that, according to Jesus, the entire Law can be summed up in two commands: that we love God and neighbor. That’s what we’ve been commanded to do. And when we decide to do it, not only will we know that we’re a member of the family, so will those around us.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 27, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 27, 2016: Today, our passages are  Zechariah 10:1–11:17; Revelation 18:1-24; Psalm 146:1-10; and Proverbs 30:33 .  The readings are from  The ...

St. Mark P'nai Or Interfaith Ministry

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday's Sermon – The Real Christmas Surprise

Below is a copy of the sermon I preached on Sunday, December 25, in Cove Presbyterian Church, Weirton, West Virginia. You can find a podcast of this sermon on the Cove Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you find this sermon meaningful, please consider supporting this ministry by sending an offering to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.


Luke 2:1-20 

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Real Christmas Surprise 

I think I’m pretty safe in saying that Christmas is really a season of surprises, isn’t it? I mean, just think about it, a lot of what gives Christmas its, well, pizzaz has to do with being surprised. My gosh, that’s the whole point of wrapping gifts. Man, we even wrap stuff that’s really obvious. Why? Because wrapping gives the illusion that we can keep what we’re giving a secret; therefore, the one who gets it will be surprised. And on Christmas morning, parents sure hope their kids are surprised that Santa dumped about a half his bag of toys in their living room. And I think we all know that one of the staples of daytime talk shows this time of year is having a military family in the audience who’s mom or dad is serving overseas. And then, at the right time, they bring their loved one on stage, so that the family can jump and run and cry and the audience can all say, “ah.” And of course they do all that, because they’re what: surprised. And I’ll tell you, for that reason, it really is in keeping with the season.

But of course, there are some things associated with Christmas that aren’t surprising at all, at least not to most of us. For example, I don’t think anybody is surprised by the story line of their favorite holiday movie. I mean, give me a break, we all know what happens with a bell rings or the outcome of Santa’s trial. And we all know what happens to Clark when he slides down the hill and Ebenezer when he wakes up on Christmas morning. And we all know what Flick does to the flag pole and Elf puts on his spaghetti. At least we do if we watch those movies every year. Let’s face it, there are no surprises there.

But you know, there’s something else that, for most of us, isn’t surprising either, and now I talking about the story of Jesus’s birth. I mean, even if you’re not a church-goer, most Americans know at least a little about the “reason for the season.” And so, the story of the birth doesn’t really offer a lot of surprises. For example, most of us have a pretty good idea about why Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem. They went to be registered, to be taxed, right? You see, with Mary and Joseph, the government said go, and they went all the way from Galilee to Judea; therefore, I think we should be thankful every time we have the chance to pay online. We know the why. Just like we know what happened when they got there. And I’ll tell you, modern translations may be fine, but when you’re reading something like the Twenty-Third Psalm or the birth story, as my daughter would say, the King James Version is the bomb: “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” I don’t know about y’all but to me, it just feels right, doesn’t it? And so we know about what happened. And if we’ve ever watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” we know about who shows up first to the manger.


I’m telling you, for most of us there aren’t many surprises here.

Or at least, that’s what we think, and so if we’re serious about the Bible, we move on to more challenging passages, and if we’re not, we check out what’s on either Spike or Me TV, depending on our personal taste. But you know, before we move on, I think we should take a little time and reread the story, because if we don’t, we just might miss some pretty dramatic stuff in these verses, and I’m talking about some surprises that can change our assumptions about real, life things, you know, like political and economic and social power. Let me show you what I mean.

Remember how I mentioned that we generally know why Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem. Well, as Luke tells the story, I think he makes a contrast that points to something that, when you think about it, is pretty surprising. You see, right at the beginning he offers some names and offices, doesn’t he? “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” In other words, Luke gives us two men of influence, of authority, of raw political power. And as such, they were probably a whole lot more likely to have a son who would change the world than Mary and Joseph. And yet, Jesus, the son of the most high, wasn’t born to an emperor or a king or even a governor. The Son of God was part of a family that had absolutely no influence and no authority and no political power at all, and I think that’s kind of surprising.

And I’ll tell you why I think it’s important for us to remember. Sometimes I think we both fear and trust political power way too much. I mean, since the election, there’s one group of Americans who are happy and feel incredibly hopeful while there’s another group who are depressed and feel absolute despair. Of course, in 2008 and 2012, the two groups were reversed. Remember how we were suppose to be under Sharia law by now? Well, the groups were reversed again in 2000 and 2004, again in 1992 and 1996, and again in 1980, 1984 and 1988. And during those thirty-six years, in spite of what a lot of people said, we’ve neither seen the destruction of the republic nor the dawning the God’s kingdom. You see, whether you’re talking about emperors and kings or presidents and prime ministers, political power is limited, but that’s not the case with God. And I’ll tell you, if given the choice between trusting the limited or the unlimited, the finite or the infinite, the temporal or the eternal, well, that would seem to be a no brainer. I mean, dah. But this is something we might miss if overlook the surprise Luke offers right at the beginning of his story.

And you know, the same kind of thing can occur if we assume that we know all we need to know about what happened in Bethlehem. Now remember that Luke tells us that Joseph was from the House of David and that’s why he needed to go to Bethlehem in Judea. In other words, he was royalty and Bethlehem was his home town. Now I think that may certainly infer some economic clout. But even if he was a poor relation, it would seem doubtful that he didn’t have some contact back home. At the very least, he could have dropped the name David into the right ear. Now that’s what Luke sort of leads us to consider by offering Joseph’s lineage. But then he spins us around by telling us that not only was Joseph not wealthy but there was no place for them to stay except a stable. The Lord, the Christ, the Son of God was laid in a feeding trough because there was no where else for him to be born. Let’s just say, he was on one of the lower rungs of the economic ladder. In a word, man, he was poor with a capital “P”.

And that’s also something we might want to keep in mind before we start measuring our value and the value of others based on how much stuff we or they have. You see, our closeness to God isn’t determined by our portfolio, and our spirituality isn’t indicated by our bank balance. In fact, when Jesus said, “blessed are you who are poor for you will receive the Kingdom of God” and “woe to you who are rich for you for you have received your consolation,” I believe he meant it. And I don’t think he was messing around when he told the rich young ruler to “...sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” You see, no one lacks value in the sight of God. We’re his children. And we’re all equally loved by him. And if we want to follow the example of his son, we might want to adopt this vision ourselves, something else we might never do if we miss this surprise in the story.

And finally, I want you to think about who were first to visit the newborn Jesus. I mean, clearly this was a big deal in both heaven and earth, because God sent a chorus to announce the birth. And since he went to all the trouble to send down the “heavenly host,” we’d certainly expect the announcement to be made to folks who were important, you know, the movers and shakers, men who could make a difference. Those are the ones I would contact. But those aren’t the ones Luke said first heard the message. Instead, they were shepherd out in the field watching their sheep. And even though the imagine of shepherd has a lot of theological weight, in first century Palestine, shepherds weren’t exactly the cream of the social crop. They spent all their time with sheep, for crying out loud. In other words, they didn’t have a very high position in their world. And yet, it was to them that the angel made the announcement. And the heavenly chorus sang to them. And it was this bunch of shepherds who dropped what they were doing and went to see the child and his mother, and that’s a surprise too.

And because of that, maybe we should take a half step back the next time we feel intimidated by somebody’s education and social position. I mean, if God can announce the birth of his son to shepherds, it’s reasonable to assume that, in his kingdom, we all have a role to play, regardless of how we’re seen by the society that surrounds us. And again, this we might miss, if we were not sensitive to what really is another surprise in this passage.

And you know, because of that, maybe this really is the right story to read this time of year. I mean, given the fact that we tend to wrap everything in sight and that Santa can deliver so many toys in such a short time and that some people stationed overseas will continue to find their way onto talk shows, why shouldn’t we also have a story with more than a few twists and turns, one that reminds us that the ultimate king will grow up as the son of a pretty average couple and that his birth will have more to do with those who are down and out then with the well to do and that those who first came will be the socially challenged rather than the cultural elite. You see, the fact that God chose to enter human space in this way, well, that I think that may be the real Christmas surprise.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 26, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 26, 2016: Today, our passages is  Zechariah 9:1-17; Revelation 17:1-18; Psalm 145:1-21; and Proverbs 30:32 .  The readings are from  The Messa...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 25, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 25, 2016: Yesterday, our passages were  Zechariah 8:1-23; Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-15; and Proverbs 30:29-31 .  The readings are from...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - The Beginning

Below is a new devotion I just left on the Cove Presbyterian Church prayer line. You can find a recording of this devotion on the prayer line (1-304-748-7900) or on the Cove Presbyterian Church Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

Isaiah 35:1-7

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Image result for after christmasThe Beginning

Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas. And for a lot of us, including me, this is the end of a long process. You see, outside of a few gifts that have been ordered but haven’t arrived, the shopping is done. And outside of maybe a turkey or ham tomorrow, most of the cooking and all the baking is in the books. And as a minister, I’ve got a service this evening and two services tomorrow, all three of which are different and demanded different bulletins, but after tomorrow, at about 12:30 p.m., the dust settles. And even though most of us face the “joy” of taking all the decorations down, very little new is going up. You see, for most of us, Christmas is the end.

But that wasn’t the case if we’re talking about the birth of Jesus. This wasn’t the end of anything, rather it was the beginning: the beginning of grace made real and personal, the beginning of a new relationship with God, and the beginning of the time when the tables will be turned and the values of the old age reversed. Like Isaiah wrote, with the coming of Christ, “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water...” And so, as we move beyond the twenty-fifth, let’s just pause for a minute so that we can appreciate what actually began at that first Christmas.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 24, 2016

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 24, 2016: Today, our passages is  Zechariah 6:1–7:14; Revelation 15:1-8; Psalm 143:1-12; and Proverbs 30:24-28 .  The readings are from  The ...

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on Luke 2:6-7

Prayer Requests, to be shared during Sunday’s worship service

On Sunday, December 18, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Adults
Amy Slisik
Audrey Vincent
Betty Michael
Bruce Mader
Carol Baker
Chad Pepper
Chad Wilson
Cindy Kuzel
Clyde Flesher, Sr.
Darcy Keffer
David Johns
Debbie Zuccaro
Debi Edge
Emery Edwards
Faith Bonyak
Gen Meyer
George & Mary Shepherd
Greta Billham
Jan Jackson
Jim & Shelley Pearson
Jim Neil
Joanie Lawrence
Josh and Dee
Karen Lombardi
Katy Allen
Kay Hyde
Kevin Kuzel
Linda Spencer
Marcia Cooper
Marge Oslett
Matthew Kirtley
Michael Shade
Mike Churchman
Minnie Pazich
Miranda Flesher
Patricia Cox
Phyllis Manley
Randal Kane
Richard Ballard
Rocco Zuccaro
Ronnie Buffington
Sally Robinson
Sandra Duckworth
Sharon Wheeler
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Stacy Jo Vogel
Susie Hawkins
Twinkle Smith
Vicki Williams
Wayne Channing

Children
Elijah Parker
Jameson Criss
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Lily Ghrist
Meadow Abbett
Michael Daugherty
Mitch Almason
Wyatt Smith

Military
Isaac Stephens
Jason Kerr
Jonathan Criss
Justin Schmalstieg
Kara Criss
Michael Criss

Church Families
Chuck & Linda May
Mary Lou McKinley
Cris Means

Local Church
Weirton Heights Memorial Baptist Church

Special Friend
Teresa Skiles – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2526 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062-3652

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations 
Roney’s Point Presbyterian Church, Triadelphia, Ohio – Rev. Darrin Jones
Community Presbyterian Church, Warnock, Ohio – Rev. Diane Jefcheck

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Carl Hamill – Serra Manor, Apt. 11, 205 Serra Manor, Weirton, WV  26062
Dolores Edwards – Wyngate, 100 Wyngate Dr., Weirton, WV  26062
Harry Hutch – Villa Vista, Room 406, 1800 Sinclair Ave., Steubenville, OH  43953
June Virtue – Grace Cottage, 195 Eden Dr., Weirton, WV  26062-3664
Theresa Skiles – Weirton Geriatric Center, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Weirton, WV  26062
Ruth Ann Oestering – Woodland Hills, 608 North 10th St., Weirton, WV  26062

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

Below are the announcements as they appear in the Sunday bulletin.


THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
By tradition, the Christmas season is regarded as consisting of twelve days, and ends with the Epiphany.

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT BEFORE THE SERVICE . . .
the Rev. Rudiger pours water into the baptismal font even though we might not have a baptism on that particular Sunday. Here’s the reason. Since baptism is one of the pillars of our identity as Christians, this is a reminder that we’re united as members of the Body of Christ. It represents a gift given to us by God, one that we can’t earn and don’t deserve. As we move forward as a congregation, it’s important to remember and to celebrate the sacrament that unites us. And since Jesus said that part of making disciples of all nation involves baptizing them, it’s also a reminder of the mission we’ve been given.

“JESUS TIME” IS SPECIAL TIME FOR . . .
all our children and young people. This Sunday School experience offers them the opportunity to learn the Bible story and apply that story to their lives. “Jesus Time” meets at 11:00 a.m. and runs until the end of the Worship Service. If you have children and teens, ask one of the greeters to direct you to the children’s location.

OUR TUESDAY EVENING STUDY . . .
will meet on Tuesday, December 27, at 6:30 p.m. to continue a series entitled “On the Road Again: A Study of Luke/Acts.”  During this session, we’ll continue to look at Luke 12:1 – 14:35

THE BELL CHOIR . . .
will practice on Saturday, at 11:00 a.m.

CHOIR WILL REHEARSE . . .
Sundays, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. They’ll rehearse in the choir room each Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30.

BOARD MEETINGS IN JANUARY
The Deacons will meet on Monday, January 2, at 6:30 pm.
The Session will meet on Sunday, January 8, at 9:00 am.
The Trustees will meet on Monday, January 9, at 6:30 pm.

THE CHURCH COULD USE YOUR LOOSE CHANGE.
In the narthex, there’s a fish bowl where you’re invited to leave any pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters you might have rattling around in your pocket or purse.

THE SESSION HAS SCHEDULED OUR ANNUAL MEETING . . .
for Sunday, January 22, immediately after worship. If you have material for the annual report, please have it to the office no later than January 15.

QUARTERLY GIVING STATEMENTS . . .
are on the table in the narthex.

WE APPRECIATE ALL THOSE WHO ARE OFFERING . . .
their time and special gifts to the church. In particular, we thank the following:
We thank Ray Seifert for directing our choir, Sue Willson for directing the bells, and Peggy Baldt for running our sound system during the service.
We thank Dean Allen, Rick Baldt and T.J. Smith for the repairs they’ve done around the church.
We thank Chris Connell, Debbie Seifert, Heather Campbell, and Diana Durst for volunteering to chaperone the scouts.
Debi Smith for her wonderful chalk sign for the dinner theater.
Tina Viakley and our Deacons for organizing Project Christmas Smile 2016.
Debbie Rudiger, Tina Viakley, Ray Seifert, Janice Torrance, and our youth for all the work they put into their Christmas Program.
Finally, all those who offer their time, talent and money to further the God’s Kingdom. IF

YOU’D LIKE TO OFFER A COUPLE OF HOURS TO THE CHURCH . . .
we need volunteers for Wednesday evenings to chaperone the Cub Scouts. If you’re available, please tell the pastor or call the church office.

A SPIRITUAL MESSAGE . . .
can be found by calling 304-748-7900 Cove’s Prayer Line. You can call at anytime to hear a message by Rev. Rudiger. The messages are changed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  You can also hear the devotion at covepresbyterian.podbean.com and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian). You can also read the devotion at www.thecovecommunity.blogspot.com.

YOU CAN NOW MAKE DONATIONS THROUGH PAYPAL . . .
by go on the link you can find in our daily e-mails and on our website (covepresbyterian.org) and all our blog. We can also help you set up a PayPal account, if you don’t already have one.

WE ARE UPDATING OUR PRAYER CHAIN . . . 
regularly. If you wish to add someone, contact the church office.

IF YOU’RE IN THE KROGERS COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM . . .
your enrollment is valid for 12 months from the registration date. You will need your Kroger rewards card number. To confirm that your registration is still active or to re-register you can contact Kroger customer service at this number: 1-866-221-4141. If you need to re-register all you'll need is your Kroger Card number and  our Cove Church number which is 80270. All that is required is that you go to Kroger.com; Community; Rewards; Enroll Now; type in Cove and hit search; click on Cove Presbyterian; click on Enroll Now. Please check your receipt the next time you shop, the bottom should read You requested Kroger to donate to Cove Presbyterian Church. If you need help with this process just call the church office, and Heather Campbell will be happy to assist you.

WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR AMAZON SMILE,
.you get the same products and service we expect from Amazon except the Church gets .5% of every qualifying purchase. The Amazon Smile registration for first time users is https://smile.amazon.com/Ch/55-0462066. You only have to register once then go to www.smile.amazon.com to place orders.

WE NOW HAVE FIVE BLOGS . . . 
that you can check out for information and on which you can leave comments. They’re listed below:
The Cove Community - This is for the whole church. I’ll post sermons and announcements.
Cove Kids - This is tailored for the 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.
Bible Talk - We’ve established this blog to give pastors and lay people the chance to discuss Scripture. The weekly passages are from the Common Lectionary.
The Bible in a Year - Each day, we’ll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year.
Growing in Grace - Although we’re saved by God’s grace, we can grow in our understanding of grace. At Cove Presbyterian Church, we offer a variety of different classes for children and adults, many of which are recorded and posted on our PodBean page (covepresbyterian).

IF YOU’RE ABLE AND WILLING TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION . . .
so that some of homebound members are able to attend our worship services, please tell the pastor or another member of session.

SERMONS, DEVOTIONS, LESSONS, AND ESSAYS ARE AVAILABLE ON . . .
the Cove PodBean page and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian).

IF YOU’RE ONLINE . . .
“like” us on Facebook (Cove Presbyterian Church) or join our Facebook group (The Cove Community). You can also connect with Pastor Rudiger on Instagram (rev_ed).

IN THE HOSPITAL? HOMEBOUND? RECENT ILLNESS?
f you know of someone who is in the hospital please contact the church office, due to privacy laws the hospital is unable to contact us. If you are unable to attend services and would like to arrange for a visit from Rev. Ed Rudiger or to receive communion please contact the church office. Also, if you would like to receive the Sunday Bulletin contact the church office.

IF YOU DON’T PLAN TO TAKE YOUR BULLETIN HOME . . .
drop it in the purple container at the back door so that it can be recycled.

VASES OF FLOWERS . . .
can be purchased for a service. The cost is $16.00 a vase.  You may also purchase silk flowers or live plants, the choice is yours.  Telephone the church office to place your order. After the service, we’ll place the flowers in a vase for you to take.

ONGOING MISSION PROJECTS . . . 
Campbell’s Labels are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Weirton Christian Cent er.  The labels including the bar code or just the bar code can be dropped off in the container located in the hallway downstairs.
Greeting Cards are being collected by the Myrtle McHendry Class. Please drop off your used Greeting Cards or just the front of the card in the box located in the main hallway downstairs. No envelopes -please. The cards are being sent to St. Jude’s  Ranch to be remade into cards to be sold in their gift shop.  FYI . . Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting Cards can not be accepted as they are trade marked.
Can Tabs are being collected by the Presbyterian Women for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown, West Virginia. Deposit your tabs in the container located in the hallway downstairs.

Friday's Essay - Another Christmas Story

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can hear a podcast of this message by going to the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

 If you find this meaningful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
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charest3This morning, as I was coming to work, I was listening to National Public Radio. And they had a story that I found both interesting and touching. Now, it was something from Story Corps, a national project in which real people record their own stories either by themselves or with someone else. And this morning, the story about how two men in Nashville, Tennessee had saved the life of a three-month-old girl, when her mother, while holding her daughter, attempted suicide by jumping off the Shelby Street Bridge into the Cumberland River. All this happened on Christmas Eve, 1956, and it was being told by the daughter and one of the men. According to what the woman said, her mother suffered from mental illness which led to this horrible situation. But thanks to these two men, both the mother and daughter survived, with the mother eventually getting the treatment she needed and living a full life. And the daughter had grown up, having a family of her own, something that would have never happened without these men whom she didn’t meet until much later.

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Now, I’ve got to admit, as I listened, I was really touched by this story. And after thinking about it for a little while, I was struck by two things that, at least for me, are important to remember, especially this time of year. I mean, first, it hit me that, like the mother in the story, we’re surrounded by all kinds of people who have problems and needs about which we never hear. Of course, they may not be as severe as the woman in the story nor are the resulting actions as grave. Still the needs and problems are there. You see, whether it involves financial hardships or health issues, whether the focus is on self or others and whether the resulting stress is felt within or shown on the outside, I believe there are many people who carry around burdens that we can’t even imagine. They may be lonely but don’t feel comfortable reaching out. They may be afraid but assume that their fear will be seen as weakness if it’s expressed. And they may be sad but have become convinced either that nobody else cares or that they somehow deserve it. I’ll tell you, like the mother in that story, there are folks we may have passed in the mall who may feel, as Jesus said, heavy laden, brothers and sisters who need something just to get them through what may be for us a season of joy. Now that’s one thing that hit me.

Related imageAnd second, it seems to me that God put us in positions and has given us the opportunity to help these suffering men and women. Now I’m really not suggesting that we can save them; there’s only been one savior. But even if we can’t redeem them from their pain, we can certainly help them endure it. I mean we can surely stand with them as they pass through their frustrations and fears. And we can surely show by both our words and actions that they are not alone and that they’re problems haven’t become a scarlet letter separating them from others. And as Christian brothers and sisters, we can pray with and for them, and we can do what we can to demonstrate that they can reach out to us and that we care and that we’ll listen. You see, like those men went into a cold river sixty years ago, we can step away from what we might consider comfortable so that we can become God’s instruments within the lives of others.

Now I hope I’m never in the situation that was described in the story. But even if we’re not, we can still make a difference to folks who need help and who need hope. And so, as we make our final preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s be willing to follow his words and reach out to the least of these who are members of our human family.