Saturday, December 30, 2017

A New Devotion on Cove's Prayer Line - Approaching 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 Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website ( 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.

Colossians 1:9-14

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Approaching a New Year

Image result for approaching a new yearIn a couple of days, we’ll be in a new year. And although we might not want to admit it, we actually have a limited amount of control over what’s going to happen. I mean, I think we can pretty much draw a line through international relations and national politics; those are above and beyond our control. And within our community, the economy will be shaped by a lot of factors, and in the church, for everything we do to meet a personal need, someone else will probably feel as though we’re neglecting them. And even in our personal lives, we’d all like to think that we’ll be healthy and happy, but let’s get real, bad things happen to good people. That’s just the way it was and will always be.

Still there are some things over which we do have control, and some of them are listed by Paul in the passage we read. For example, we can decide to lead lives that bring glory to Jesus Christ, lives that reflect his will and his love. And we can try our best to be both strong and patient along with working a little joy and thanksgiving into our attitude. In other words, as we approach this new year, with all it’s potential and opportunities, we can choose to live as though we actually believe that we’ve been rescued from the darkness and brought into the light.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 30, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 30, 2017: 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 Contempo...

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 29, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 29, 2017: 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 Contempor...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 27, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 27, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are   Zechariah 10:1–11:17; Revelation 18:1-24; Psalm 146:1-10; and Proverbs 30:33 .  The readi...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 26, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 26, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are   Zechariah 9:1-17; Revelation 17:1-18; Psalm 145:1-21; and Proverbs 30:32 .  The readings ...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 25, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 25, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are   Zechariah 8:1-23; Revelation 16:1-21; Psalm 144:1-15; and Proverbs 30:29-31 .  The readin...

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 24, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 24, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are  Zechariah 6:1–7:14; Revelation 15:1-8; Psalm 143:1-12; and Proverbs 30:24-28 .  The readin...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

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

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

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 Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website ( 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.

Jeremiah 31:10-14

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock."

For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, says the LORD.

The Future

Image result for future in God's handsThere are days when I worry about the future. I mean, from where I stand, things just don’t seem to be going in the right direction, you know, that America has sort of lost it’s way. And it’s not just about politics and the economy. It seems we’re willing to overlook the moral failings of our leaders like no time I remember in my sixty years. In fact, it appears as though blatantly immoral actions are far less important than ones position on gun control, and that’s especially true of some of the most overtly Christian folks in our nation. And I read this morning about how global warming will result not only in rising seas and climate change, it’s also going to trigger more volcanic activity, just what we need. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, and it makes me sad knowing that the world I’m handing over to my daughter is in much worse shape than the one I received from my parents. Frankly, I worry about the future, particularly her future.

But when I say “future” I’m talking about something that’s immediate, because I’m confident in her, mine and our ultimate future. You see, that’s under God’s control. And even though we give it our best shot, we lack the power to pry it from his hands. In other words, despite our best efforts to mess up the world that he’s entrusted to our care, God hasn’t given up on his flock. And the time will come when he will lead us into a new world, one grounded in his power and love and not our arrogance and weakness.

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

On Sunday, December 24, Cove Presbyterian Church will lift to God the following needs.

Alice Channing
Amy Slisik
Betty Michaels
Bill Morany
Bob Crupp
Bob Gracey
Bonnie & Red Nichols
Bruce Mader
Chad Peppler
Cindy Kuzel 
Dave Mendenhall
Davey Turner
Debi Edge
Elaine Ferrari
Faith Bonyak
George & Mary Shepherd
Grace Littledon
Jim Bilderback
Jeff Wright 
Jeffery Castner
Jim & Shelley Pearson
Jim Neil
Jim Shingleton
Jo Betlem
Joanie Lawrence 
Joe & Mary Faran
Josh and Dee
Judy Tennant
Karen Edwards
Kenny Orlando
Kevin Kuzel 
Libbie Messerly
Linda Caleffie
Marcia Cooper
Marge Oslett
Mary Faran
Matthew Kirtley
Michael Brown
Michael Patterson 
Michael Shade
Minnie Pazich
Penny & Nick Mourat
The people of Pueto Rico
Paul Rosnick
Randal Kane
Rhett Cain
Richard Ballard
Richie Marshall
Rick Shadiow
Rocco Zuccaro
Ronnie Buffington
Ralph Metts
Sally Robinson
Sandy Hatala
Shirley Everhart Kirtley
Snookie Plaso
Stacy Jo Vogel
Sue Reynolds
Sue Willson
Tom Marosi
Vicki Williams
Wayne Channing

Alphonzo Lloyde
Elijah Parker
Jameson Criss
Jeffrey Konovich
Jonathan Marte
Lily Ghrist
Logan Adams
Macaiah Lloyde
Meadow Abbett
Michael Daugherty
Mitch Almason
Temica Lloyde


Doug Obeldobel
Isaac Stephens
Jason Kerr
Jonathan Criss
Justin Schmalstieg
Kara Criss
Michael Criss

Church Families

Susan O'Neill
Jim, Donna & Derrick Paul
Shana  Pepper

Local Church

Voice of Pentecost

Special Friend
Teresa Skiles

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery Congregations
Executive Round Table
Bills & Overtures Committee Rev. David Demarest, Chairperson

Also Remember in Your Prayers
Alice & Kenny Orr
Carl Hamill
Dolores Edwards
June Virtue
Ron Taflan

What's Happening at Cove Presbyterian Church?

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

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” usually meets at 11:00 a.m. and runs until the end of the Worship Service. This morning, the children are invited to stay for our special service. 

won’t meet on December 26. It’ll resume on Tuesday, January 2 with a study of the different world religions. 

will practice on Wednesday, at 6:00 p.m.

at 9:30 on Sunday mornings. And the choir will rejoin our worship service next Sunday.

Along with our regular Sunday morning service, we’ll have our annual service of lessons and carols this evening at 7:00 p.m. And on Christmas morning, we’ll offer communion in the Fellowship Hall at 11:00 a.m. 

in the parlor before and after the service. Before you leave, grasp a cup and a donut.

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. 

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 the Trustees (Burnie Huey, TJ Smith, Dale Pierce, and Dean Allen) for making needed repairs. 
• We thank Debbie Rudiger and Tina Viakley for the work they’re doing with our young people, especially for the children’s program presented last Sunday. You can see the video at
• We thank The Children Academy for what they do for the children of our community and for filling our church with laughter and joy during the week.
• We thank Joy Ishingood and her committee for making Project Christmas Smile such a big success.
• Finally, all those who offer their time, talent and money to further the God’s Kingdom.

for the Nominating Committee. We need nominees for 2 Session and 2 Deacon positions for 2018. If you are interested or want to nominate someone, please let one of these members know as soon as possible. 

is looking for ministers and ruling elders who feel called to serve on the Presbytery’s Bills & Overtures Committee. If interested, please contact David Demarest

who have not received a Bible please let us know.

If you are not on it or know someone who should be added please give the information to  Heather Campbell or Debbie Seifert.

are reserved for our members and guests who have disabilities or other health issues and need to park as close as possible.

there’s a white board on the wall facing the secretary’s office.

and aren’t receiving e-mails from the church, please contact the church office. For some reason, Comcast blocks messages from Cove; therefore, you may need to set-up another e-mail account (gmail, aol, hotmail, etc.) to receive material we send.

to bringing hope and help to local communities. We do this through a variety of activities, including charitable giving, sponsorships and the unique Community Rewards Program of Kroger. We are also committed to carefully protecting our customers' personal information. In order to meet their expectation of privacy, we have adopted a simple policy to never share a customer's personal information. Our privacy policy applies to Community Rewards participation as well. As your neighborhood food retailer, we deeply value our ability to support local organizations like yours. Your supporters (43 households) who shopped at Kroger between 7-31-2017 and 10-30-2017 (Cycle 17, Qtr 2) have contributed to your $290.35 total donation. Your organization will be receiving a Kroger check in this amount within 30 days from 11-24-2017. If you have any questions, please email or visit our website at Thank you for your continued support of your local Kroger store.

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.

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 and iTunes (search Cove Presbyterian). You can also read the devotion at

by go on the link you can find in our daily e-mails and on our website ( and all our blog. We can also help you set up a PayPal account, if you don’t already have one.

by clicking the “Donate” button on the Cove Presbyterian Church page.

regularly. If you wish to add someone, contact the church office.

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 You only have to register once then go to to place orders.

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.

so that some of homebound members are able to attend our worship services, please tell the pastor or another member of session.

the Cove PodBean page and YouTube (search “Cove Presbyterian” and “Ed Rudiger”). .

“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).

If 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.

drop it in the purple container at the back door so that it can be recycled.

for a service. The cost is $20.00 a vase.  You may also purchase silk flowers or live plants, the choice is yours.  Telephone the office to place your order. After the service, we’ll place the flowers in a vase for you to take.

BOOK OF ORDER 2017 – 2019: 
This book is Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This volume contains the Foundations of Presbyterian Polity, the Form of Government, the Directory for Worship, and the Rules of Discipline. Additional information is provided to the reader through the inclusion of Received Ecumenical Statements of Guidance and Articles of Agreement. Patty is currently taking orders at $10.00 per copy. They must be picked up at the Presbytery Office. OR—if you want to order directly from Presbyterian Distribution Service and have them shipped to you, call them at 1-800-524-2612. Downloadable copies are not yet available (maybe in September).

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 Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - 7:00 p.m.

Below is a copy of the bulletin.

Cove's Bulletin for Sunday, December 24, 2017

Below is a copy of our Sunday bulletin.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 23, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 23, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are  Zechariah 4:1–5:11; Revelation 14:1-20; Psalm 142:1-7; and Proverbs 30:21-23 .  The readin...

Let's Worship Together

Friday, December 22, 2017

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

The Passages of Christmas (Session 4 - The Epiphany in Matthew)

Friday's Essay - Santa and Jesus

Friday's Essay - Santa and Jesus

Below is an essay I sent to the Cove Presbyterian Church emailing list. You can find a recording of this essay on the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website ( 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.

Image result for santa and JesusI finished the bulletin we’ll use for the Candlelight Christmas Eve service a couple of hours ago. And since I had some room, I included the letter from Virginia O'Hanlon to the New York Sun and the response from the paper. Now if you never read it, it deals with the existence of Santa Claus, and the position of The Sun was that Santa is real. As it stated in the last paragraph: “No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” I remember, when I was a child, dad read me the letter, and I guess it’s always had a special place in my heart.

But, on another level, it points to an issue with which some Christian parents struggle this time of year, namely what role should Santa play in the lives of their children during this celebration of Jesus’s birth? Of course, for most folks, this isn’t a big deal, not when compared with all the other stuff they have to face just living. And I’ll tell you, it’s not all that different from the angst some moms and dads go through around Halloween, you know, whether allowing their children to trick or treat is introducing them to Satanism. And so I don’t want to overblow this business of Santa and Jesus. Still, for some believers, these two figures have an uncomfortable, even a strained relationship this time of year.

And because of that, they look for ways to resolve this situation. I mean, some choose to exorcize the big guy from the holiday, as though the twenty-fifth isn’t big enough for both. Of course, that’s really challenging, because even those who believe there’s a war on Christmas would put Santa on the pro-Christmas side of the wall; therefore, cutting him out would seem to be moving to the dark side. Still, some parents give it a shot. But others try to bring the two together into one holiday omelet. Let me explain. I remember a couple of years ago, a very sincere and dedicated Christian lady gave me a snow globe with Santa kneeling at the manger. Of course, I understood her point and recognized her desire to marry these two powerful images into one. But I have to admit, I’m a little uncomfortable with the pairing. Jesus Christ represents the incarnation of God, in other words, the divine taking upon himself not just human flesh but also human limitations. And as the Evangelist Luke took great pains to show, his entry as a the baby born in Bethlehem was an event grounded in history and could be dated by looking at the emperors, kings, and governors who ruled. You see, Jesus was real. But the Santa we recognize, well, I think we’re on sand if we try to establish him in history. You see, although he’s certainly based loosely on a historical figure, the big fellow in the red suit has more to do with childhood imagination or maybe adult commerce than reality. And if we tie the historic Christ with Mr. Claus, I think we run the risk of children discarding both when they grow up and no longer hear the bell ring. And for the reason, I think we need to be careful before we conflate the stories.

But I think there’s another option that just makes sense to me. Why don’t we allow both to exist independently, without viewing the profane as a threat or trying to spiritualize the secular? You see, I really believe that children can and should learn about the birth of Jesus Christ. They need to hear the story and to feel the power, just like that I think it’s important for them to learn about his life and his death and his resurrection. And even though I also believe there’s a whole different set of problems when faith is made dependent on reason rather than truth, it’s important to convey to children and adults that the incarnation is as real as divine grace and human salvation. Put another way, I think we’ve done a bad job sharing the good news if people believe they’ve outgrown Jesus. But along with the birth of Christ, I think children can also believe in Santa Claus, the guy who comes down chimneys and who leaves presents and who always eats the cookies and drinks the milk. He can be a “stand alone” figure of fun and fantasy. And even if, at best, he losses his finitude and evolves into the spirit of giving, that’s fine. We can all carry the memories of innocence and wonder into the future and pass them on to another generation without mudding the waters by inserting theological into the puddle.

In other words,  I think we should let Santa be Santa and Jesus be Jesus, with one becoming a precious memory of childhood and the other the eternal savior of the universe. One doesn’t need to threaten the other nor do they have to come together any more than the Easter Bunny should be hopping past the empty tomb. Instead maybe we’d be best served by doing what people used to do, and I’m talking about not making a big deal over two things that are both good in their own way.

A Summary of Our Last Session Meeting – December 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Cove’s session met on Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 9:00 a.m., with seven ruling elders present. Pastor Rudiger opened the meeting with prayer

When it was considered, the Ruling Elders had the opportunity to move items up in the agenda. At the request of the members, the following items were discussed.

Reception of Minutes and Non-Session Reports – The Session received it’s minutes as printed from the November regular meeting and the Deacon minutes from their regular meeting of December 6. The Pastor’s report for November was received as printed. In the Pastor’s report, the following was noted:
  • During the month of November, I led the following regular worship services at Cove:
    • November 5 (communion) - Christianity 101 (Was Crucified, Died, and Was Buried)
    • November 12 - Christianity 101 (He Descended into Hell)
    • November 19 - Christianity 101 (On the Third Day He Rose Again from the Dead)
    • November 26 - Christianity 101 (He Ascended into Heaven)
  • During the month of November I led the following regular worship services at Two Ridges:
    • November 26
  • During the month of November, I conducted the following funerals: 
    • November 6 - Michael Tredway (memorial service)
    • November 17 - Ruth Ann Oesterling 
  • During the month of November, I officiated the following weddings:
    • November 12 - Wiltrout-Koslow
    • November 18 - Guzman-Jarrett
  • In our Tuesday Study, we finished the series on Luke/Acts. After one session dealing with different translations of the Bible, we started a series on the Passages of Christmas.
  • I’m preaching a series entitled “Christianity 101.”
  • We’re hosting a Grief Share support group. 
  • I did the invocation and benediction at the community Veterans Day service.
  • Currently, we’re recording and posting podcasts of the following:
    • Prayer Line Devotions
    • Sermons
    • Lessons
    • Services 
  • These podcasts are also posted to the following sites:
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
    • Twitter
    • Blogspot
    • Google +
    • Pinterest
    • VK
    • StumbleUpon
    • LinkedIn
    • Tumblr
Report from the Christian Growth Committee – The following was reported:
  • The Children’s Christmas Program and Congregational Luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, December 17, beginning at 12:30. The session is responsible for providing the meat and for set-up.
  • The pastor led a confirmation for five young people.
Report from the Worship Committee – It was reported that communion has been served to shut-ins. When the logistics are determined, the Session plans to bring Richard Marshal to our Sunday, December 17 worship service.

The Membership Committee – The following was reported:
  • Five “Thank You” cards were sent.
  • 35 “Missing You” postcards were sent.
  • 16 people decorated the church on Sunday, November 26.
  • The church will solicit persons who might be interested in serving on the Session and the Board of Deacons.
  • The choir caroled at the Weirton Geriatric Center. 
  • The Cove Chimers received a letter from the mayor, thanking them for their performance at Weirton’s Illumination service.
  • We’re collecting names for our January 7 memorial service. 
Contact with Striplight – The Session decided to postpone Striplight’s participation in our 11:00 worship service until Easter.

Bingo – The Session discussed the costs associated with purchasing Bingo equipment. A proposal will be presented at the regular January Session meeting.

Meeting with the Representative from the Committee on Ministry – The Session discussed its meeting with the representative from the COM.

Congregational Meeting & Annual Report – The following was reported:
The annual meeting of the Cove congregation be scheduled for Sunday, January 28, immediately after worship.
The motion was seconded, discussed and carried.

Reception of the Confirmation Class into Church Membership – The following was moved:
Cove receive Dakota Nutter, Taylor Nutter, Mallory Rosnick, Tucker Smith, and Caillie Ross as a member by a profession of faith.
The motion was seconded, discussed and carried.

2018 Budget – The Session received a budget proposal.

Scheduling Communion for 2018 – The following was moved:
Cove will serve communion on the following dates: January 28, February 25, March 25, March 29 (Maundy Thursday), April 22, May 27, June 24, July 22, August 26, September 23, October 7 (World Communion Sunday), October 28, November 25, and December 23.
The motion was seconded, discussed and carried.

The Endowment Committee – The following was moved:
The Session appoints Tina Viakley to the Endowment Committee.
The motion was seconded, discussed and carried.

The Session meeting was adjourned and was closed with prayer. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 14, at 9:00 a.m.

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 22, 2017

The Bible in a Year: Bible Readings for December 22, 2017: Today our passages are  Today our passages are  Zechariah 2:1–3:10; Revelation 13:1b-18; Psalm 141:1-10; and Proverbs 30:18-20. .  The rea...

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Growing in Grace: The Passages of Christmas (Session 4 - The Epiphan...

Growing in Grace: The Passages of Christmas (Session 4 - The Epiphan...: You may listen to a podcast of this session at PodBean . During this session, we considered the story behind Epiphany, according to Matthe...

Sermon Preached during the Memorial Service for Madge McDougle - Peace a...

Sermon Preached during the Memorial Service for Madge McDougle - Peace and Hope

Below is a copy of the message I offered on Monday, December 18, during the memorial service for Madge McDougle. You can hear a podcast of the entire service on the Cove Presbyterian Podbean page. You might also want to visit the congregational website ( for more church information.

Related image
Well, here we are, less than a week before Christmas, remembering the life of somebody that y’all knew and loved: a friend, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother a sister in Christ who’s no longer with us. And I’ll tell you, saying that, well, it just doesn’t seem right, because death just doesn’t fit into the Christmas season, does it? 

I mean, Christmas supposed to be a time of joy and of peace and of hope. And yet, here we are, dealing with Madge’s death. My goodness, somehow It just doesn’t seem right that at this time of year we’re dealing with the loss of a good person, and because of that, I think it’s hard to feel joyful right now. No, what y’all may be feeling now just doesn’t seem to fit the spirit of this season of joy.

But you know, although I don’t think that today, this morning, joy is anything close to easy, I do think y’all can feel two other emotions that we generally associate with Christmas, and I’ll tell you, they’re feelings that can support y’all and strengthen y’all as you move through this time of grief. In other words, although right now you may not be able to feel a whole lot of joy; even in the face of death, you can feel peace and hope. And let me tell you what I mean.

Image result for peace christYou see, first, right here and right now, I certainly believe y’all can feel peace. I mean, just think about the Psalm we read: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” You see, that’s something we can know, that the Lord God is our helper, he protects and guides us, and he’s the one who holds us in his hands. And according to Paul, nothing can separate us from our helper, nothing can remove us from his strong and gracious hands, my goodness, “...nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You see, right there, in these words, we can find peace, can’t we: a peace that comes from knowing that Madge was and is and will always be in the hands of God, a God who loved her before the foundation of the earth. 

And like a good shepherd, God has already led her through the valley of the shadow of death. For Madge that’s already happened. But you know, that’s not the only reason we can feel peace. We can also experience it by believing it ourselves, by simply trusting that God is who he said he is and that right at this moment, he couldn’t love us more than he does right now. And I’ll tell you something else, he’s going to lead y’all through this, too. Take it to the bank, he’s going to give you support and he’s going to give you comfort. And that’s something of which we can all be sure. You see, in middle of your grief, you can know peace. And that’s one aspect of the Christmas season we can feel this morning.

Image result for hope christ
But you know, that’s not all. Second, I also think y’all can feel hope, hope grounded in the word and promises of God.  I mean, just think about what Isaiah saw, a time when those who have gone before us “will mount up with wing like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.” And of course John, that wonderful vision he had of our future, in a new heaven and a new earth, a place where God will wipe away all tears from our eyes and where there will be no death and no sorrow and no crying and no pain. You see, that’s our future, a new world, a recreated world. And I’ll tell you, Madge is going to be there, and so will Raymond and all her brothers and sisters. In other words, the time is coming when you’re going to see Madge again, probably playing bingo or working on some puzzles. And we’ll be in a new and glorious world. You see, that’s the nature of our hope. 

And in the meantime, in this time of separate, as y’all look forward to this day, y’all can remember. Y’all can remember all those qualities that Madge showed qualities that made her the special person that she was. And y’all can tell the stories, stories that I don’t know but that you do, stories that will keep her alive in our hearts and our minds. And y’all can look forward to the day, the day when we’ll all be together. You see, right now, we can certainly live with hope. 

And so, I know it’s difficult to deal with this kind of loss so close to Christmas and because of that, feeling joy is sort of a reach. Still, I think y’all can still feel peace and hope, peace knowing that Madge is in the hands of God and so are we, and hope grounded in the assurance that one day you’re going to see her again in a new and glorious world, one where there’ll be no more partings or pain and death. And although it may not come this year, maybe during some future Christmas season, you’ll be able to look back on the life of our sister Madge and look forward to the reunion coming in the future and truly feel joy.

A Thought from the Word - A brief thought based on Luke 1:76-78

The Happenings Around the Presbytery - December 20, 2017

Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery
907 National Road
Wheeling, WV  26003

Office Hours: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In an emergency after office hours: Call 740-359-1813

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What can I do to be more like Jesus?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Bill Betteridge
Karen Edwards
Ed Mooney
Leura Nancy Macon
Connie Quinn
Ann Varner
Nancy Mountz
David Brocklehurst
Wayne Devore
David Bruce
R. H. “Mac” McCuen
Karen Byrne
Bob Offerdahl
Judee Parkinson
Sharon Willits
Debbie Hale
Linda Turner
Vickie Whinnery
Steve McCollam
Jacob Kestner
Dave Boyer
Howard Monroe
Mike Lenno
David Roberts
Homer Harden
Dakota Partnership
William Heminger
All service men & women
Domasi Partnership
Pray for peace and an end to violence and hatred.

Please keep us informed of any prayer concerns you may have.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRAYER FOR UOVP PASTORS: Select one of these pastors and remember him/her in your prayers this week: Barry Hall, Homer Harden, Erica Harley, John Edward Harris, Bob Haseltine.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
THE PRESBYTERY OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED Thursday, December 21, through Monday, January 1st. In an emergency, call Bill Webster 740-359-1813 or Frank Lewis 304-266-8154.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
BILLS & OVERTURES COMMITTEE: We are looking for ministers and ruling elders who feel called to serve on the Presbytery’s Bills & Overtures Committee. If interested, please contact David Demarest
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dec. 20 ~
Susan Lehosky,
Dec. 25 ~
Lorraine Dill,
Dec. 25 ~
Ed Stern, 1204 Seborn Ave., Zanesville, OH 43701
Dec. 28 ~
Dec. 28 ~
Cindy Foster,
Dec. 29 ~
Terry Lucarelli,
  Jan. 2 ~
Roger Criss,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRESBYTERIAN PEACE and Justice newsletter December, 2017, “Joining Hands / Peace and Justice Close-Up,” Control+click here. This newsletter can also be found on our website. Click on the Mission sidebar, then click on peacemaking.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRESBYTERIAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY Newsletter for December, 2017, control+click here.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2017 ANNUAL REPORTSAll forms for your 2017 annual reports are available on the presbytery’s website.
Clerk’s Annual Questionnaire should have been submitted online to GA December 12, 2017.
Clerk’s Statistical Report is to be submitted online to GA by the end of January, 2018.
Four reports are to be submitted to Presbytery by the end of January, 2018; hard copy or e-mail them to us.
Board of Pensions: Active ministers serving a church/s are to make their own salary changes on the Board of Pensions website through “Benefits Direct.” Honorably Retired ministers serving a church/s are to complete form ENR-104 to report post retirement service. Submit this completed form with salary changes to the Presbytery Office. Our Stated Clerk will sign and forward it to the Board.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PCUSA STORE. Resources for Presbyterians; New for Lent 2018:

Holy Solitude, Heidi Haverkamp.  $8.40. You save 40% through 12/31/17! Preview the introduction and reflections for the first four days of Lent. Experience the empowering effects of solitude this Lent with pivotal Christian heroes!

The Journey to Jerusalem, John Pritchard;  $8.40. You save 40% through 12/31/17! Preview the introduction and entries for the first four days of Lent. This imaginative retelling of the stories in the Gospel of Luke is perfect for group or individual study!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SOME LIVELY IDEAS for Last Minute Gifts. SKIP THE LAST MINUTE STAMPEDE. Check the last few names off your Christmas shopping list by giving to the Presbyterian Giving Catalog in their honor. You’ll receive a printable Certificate of Gift by email that you can give to your friends and family. There’s even time for you to receive special Giving Cards by mail for each gift you make!
Family of Chickens | $25. Eggs for food, feathers for pillows, and fertilizer for crops. By giving a family of chickens, you can help improve the food security and livelihoods of farmers and families around the world.
Piglet | $40/piglet. Your gift of one—or a few—piglets can serve as a valuable safety net and a source of income for a family in need. When sold at market, a pig can be the very thing that helps a family through times of struggle.
Cow | $50/share. A dairy cow can provide a family in need with a reliable source of income and nourishment. Your gift also supports training in caretaking and sustainable breeding of livestock, improving the food and income security for families and villages in Kenya for years to come.     Explore Other Gift Ideas
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PCUSA NEWS: Control+click on each:
Presbyterian churches reach out to communities affected by California wildfiresRick Jones | Presbyterian News Service. Thousands of acres burned, homes and businesses destroyed as flames spread.
Presbyterian churches in Ventura California face new wildfire threatsRick Jones | Presbyterian News Service. Thousands of acres burned, thousands forced from homes.
A gift to the church: Growing in Grace and Gratitude resourcesMeg Rift | Congregational Ministries Publishing. Children’s curriculum offers free e-books, audio recordings and family activities in English and Spanish.
Board of Pensions Uncovers Fraud SchemeBoard of Pensions News Release. Board investigates fraudulent redirection of 11 pension payments.
Stated Clerk issues statement on Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of IsraelOffice of the Stated Clerk | Office of the General Assembly. General Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II issued a statement today from the Holy Land criticizing President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In the Holy Land, Stated Clerk calls upon President Trump not to move U.S. embassyJerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly Communications. Nelson: Relocating from Tel Aviv would ‘dim’ peace prospects.
Co-moderators call for “deeper cultural shift” on sexual harassment and abuseOffice of the Co-Moderators | Office of the General Assembly. Anderson, Edmiston urge all PC(USA) church bodies to use preaching, teaching, and policy-setting resources to achieve complete gender equity.
Mexican and U.S. Presbyterians look to ‘bridge the past and the future’ of border outreachCatherine L. May | Special to Presbyterian News Service. Bi-national ministries reflect on shared needs, restoring relationships.
Putting ‘energy’ into missionErin Dunagin | Special to Presbyterian News Service. Energy audits can free up funds for ministry.
Early American BiblesDavid Koch | Presbyterian Historical Society. Presbyterian Historical Society documents early scripture printing in U.S.
Presbyterian church helps members cope with high school shooting in New MexicoRick Jones | Presbyterian News Service. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance offers resources and support.
New Book of Common Worship coming in 2018Kimberly Bracken Long | Presbyterians Today. New liturgies and other features reflect a changing church.
Regarding ruling elders: a monthly series for spiritual leadersDiana Nishita Cheifetz | Office of the General Assembly. The Gift of the Present.
12 Days of Christmas “Pearls” from the Presbyterian Historical SocietyKristen Gaydos | Presbyterian Historical Society. To celebrate, PHS is sharing seasonal images from Pearl, its online archives, over social media.
Sandy Hook shooting: 5 years laterDonna Frischknecht Jackson | Presbyterians Today. Connecticut community finds hope when young and old come together — to write poetry.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Community Conversation on Race and Faith, Black Bodies and the Justice of Godwith Kelly Brown Douglas, Jan. 13.
How to Start a Youth Ministry Program, Online Class Implementing Intergenerational Youth Ministry with Erin Davenport and Derek Davenport, Jan. 22-Feb. 16.
AAAS Science for Seminary Continuing Ed. Class, Online Class Big Bang and Cosmic Creation: God, the Universe, and Everything with James Downey, Jan. 22-Feb. 16.
Workshop and Public Lectures, Holy Curiosity! Science, Wonder, and the Desire to Know with Ted Davis and Jennifer Wiseman, Feb. 3.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRESBYTERIAN OLDER ADULT MINISTRIES NETWORK 2017 HOLIDAY NEWSLETTER. A Message from the PNN Editor: Good Morning from Oregon, The theme of this issue of PNN is, “And They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.” Our actions often speak far louder than any of our words. In an era when open disagreement and harsh words seem to dominate the daily news, it is uplifting and inspiring to see the caring response of seemingly ordinary people to others when tragedy strikes. These people may or may not identify themselves as “Christian,” but the love they share truly is from God. Several articles in this issue reflect on this theme: MEMO FROM MEMBERSHIP by Linda Rauenbuehler, KNOWN BY OUR LOVE? by Michelle Hendrix, AND THEY’LL KNOW WE ARE CHRISTIANS BY OUR LOVE by Stephen Wallace & Quentin Holmes.
The first ever, POAMN One-Day Regional Conference took place in Winston-Salem, NC, on October 19, 2017. The theme, “Celebrating the Gift of Aging” was explored by keynote speaker Rev. Jill Crainshaw, and amplified in a variety of excellent workshops. Annie Tarbutton’s article, POAMN Winston-Salem Regional Conference, shares this special day. Thank you to all who helped plan and carry out this wonderful conference!
POAMN’s next Annual Conference will be held at Zephyr Point/ Lake Tahoe on June 5th - 8th, 2018. Mark your 2018 calendars for this upcoming event and watch for registration information coming in January. PNN is your newsletter. We need you to send us short notes about things you have done, or ideas that your group has found to work. Many older adults are in our congregations. By the power of God, plus our faithfulness, and our warmth, we can reach out. Thanks be to God! Quentin Holmes, Marcola, OR. Click here to download and read the complete Holiday PNN.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRESBYTERIAN PEACE and Justice newsletter December, 2017, “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem,” control+click here.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PRAYER PARTNERS: You will find the most up to date, January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2018, prayer partner list on our Presbytery’s website Click on “Prayer Partners” in the top blue box. Your prayer partner is the church on the same line across from your church in this file. The purpose is to get to know each other better and to pray for one another by sharing joys and concerns in a more personal way. You should contact that congregation throughout this six month period to get acquainted and find out about their prayer concerns and share those with your congregation in your bulletin and/or newsletter. We know the power of prayer, and we know that many times God shows His will for us through others, so let’s pray together.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PCUSA NEWS: Control+click on each:
Anderson pledges PC(USA) support for Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral RevivalGregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service. Faith leaders gather to launch effort, affirm call to serve the poor.
Presbyterians cautious but optimistic following Bonn climate conferenceRick Jones | Presbyterian News Service. After White House exits from Paris agreement, civil society steps up.
During Advent, the World Council of Churches invites the world to ‘A Light of Peace’World Council of Churches release. Korean Peninsula the focus of WCC prayers for peace.
What are we waiting for in Advent? And what are we celebrating at Christmas? Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service. Facebook live conversation offers reflections on ‘longing for God’ and ‘watching for Christ’s future coming.’
Presbyterian environmentalists react to recent South Dakota oil leakRick Jones | Presbyterian News Service. More than 200,000 gallons leak from Keystone Pipeline.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Upper Ohio Valley's camping ministry, Beaver Creek Church Camp. The Church Camp has formed and shaped many lives. We need your help to continue this glorious tradition. Beaver Creek Presbyterian Church Camp was founded in 1953 and exists within the unique natural setting of God’s creation. Our camp has depended through the years on the dedicated work of a great number of volunteers and the generous giving of many. Thanks to all who have contributed in the past. We now have a special new opportunity. Through the generosity of a donor in Pittsburgh, we are now offering a matching grant. All gifts up to a total of $10,000 will be matched by a dedicated Christian who wants to support this ministry. Please give generously. Please make contributions to “Beaver Creek Presbyterian Church Camp” and send them to P.O. Box 2152, East Liverpool, OH 43920.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2018 LITURGICAL COLORS CALENDAR: To find a printable liturgical calendar with the liturgical colors for paraments, go to
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
WE ARE SEEKING ALTERNATE COMMISSIONERS. Pastors and Clerks of Session, it is now time for sessions to nominate persons to be our presbytery’s ALTERNATE commissioners to the meeting of the 223rd General Assembly, June 16 to June 23, 2018, in St. Louis, MO. We need to elect one alternate minister commissioner and one alternate ruling elder commissioner. Qualified ministers may be nominated by the session he/she moderates, any session if the minister does not moderate a session, or by any standing committee of presbytery. Ministers shall have attended 50% of the stated meetings of presbytery over the previous two year cycle prior to the election. If you have any questions, call our stated clerk. Qualified sessions may nominate one of their ruling elders for alternate ruling elder commissioner. Ruling Elders shall be active in the life of his/her congregation. If you have any questions, please call our stated clerk. An application can be found on our website under Items of Interest. E-mail your nominations for alternate minister commissioner and alternate ruling elder commissioner to the Presbytery Office by January 27, 2018.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
WE ARE SEEKING AN ALTERNATE Young Adult Advisory Delegate for General Assembly, June 16 – 23, 2018, in St. Louis, MO. If needed, the alternate MUST attend the full General Assembly meeting for which they apply, and report to the Presbytery. Young adults age 17-23 (at the time of the meeting) are eligible to apply. The General Assembly provides travel and housing. A Presbytery training date will be announced after the commissioners, the youth advisory delegate, and alternates are elected. We will be selecting one YAAD alternate. An application can be found on our website under Items of Interest. Applications must be returned by January 27, 2018. E-mail applications to: with a copy to For more info, contact Cindy Foster at 740-359-2750 or
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *