A Message From Greg
At the January, General Board Meeting of First Christian Church I gave an annual report highlighting several things that were a part of our ministry in 2015. The report is not exhaustive. We do far more in service to Jesus Christ in this community than can be summarized in just a few pages. The report, however, does celebrate how God worked and is working in the life of our congregation by highlighting just a few of theimpoant happenings from last year. The Board asked me to share that report which with the congregation:
As I begin my eighteenth year in ministry with the church I am privileged to be able to report to you some of the highlights of 2015 and to offer you a snapshot of where we stood at the end of the year.
We entered 2015 with a great deal of concern about the financial strength of our church. The Stewardship and Finance Committee and our Board Chair did an outstanding job of communicating to the congregation in the fall of 2014 the budget challenge our church was facing in 2015. God used the discerning word of the voices of these servants to open the hearts and minds of the congregation resulting in the church having the best stewardship year as it relates to our budget in well over two decades. We ended the year with income that exceeded our expenses by approximately $62,000. Our All Saints Fund also grew to slightly over $40,000 as a result of a $30,000 bequest from the Wolf family and because we did not have to draw money from the fund to support the general budget. We still have much to do with regard to building the All Saints Fund to a prudent level. That level should reasonably be approximately three months of the church's annual budget ($150,000). With that said I thank God for the way we faithfully responded as good stewards in 2015. We begin 2016 with our ministry well positioned to continue to serve Lafayette in ways that make a difference in Christ's name. There are two issues that our Stewardship and Finance Committee need to consider and offer recommendations to the Board for action. The first regards the dispensation of our income over expense for 2015. The second is whether to include the Betty DeVault Fund ($50,000) as part of the aggregate constituting the current balance in the All Saints Fund ($90,000). For the past number of years the Devault Fund has been accounted for separately and the income from the fund has been used for the Minister's Discretionary Fund.
Another reason for celebration is the way our Discipleship ministry is taking shape. The core of that ministry is Catch. We are actively working the model and actively seeking to improve and implement all aspects of Catch. Norm Long's able leadership in this effort has been invaluable. One of the things we have learned over the course of the time we have been working with Catch is the need to help our people learn how to be relentlessly outward focused. To that end we are going to offer group learning experiences this year that will help our congregation understand:
How to determine your sphere of influence.
How to recognize opportunities to share your faith.
Reflect on your spiritual autobiography.
How to share your faith story.
Our Southside ministry continues to bear fruit and the Southside steering committee has engaged in significant reflection about how to effectively continue this ministry. It is worth noting that since our Southside Worship began we have had over 225 different people that have attended Southside worship. We have had 15 new people become an active part of the life of the church as a result of this ministry. That said we are in a season of discernment concerning this ministry and the next several weeks and months will most likely yield some exciting proposals. Stay Tuned!
I learned very early on in my ministry here that one of our clear gifts as a congregation is generosity. The giving spirit of our church has always been one of the hallmarks of our ministry. 2015 saw our Christian Women's Fellowship once again rank in the top 50 in mission giving nationally. Our church was once again one of the top 100 congregations nationally in mission giving; that is out of over 3500 Disciples churches.
Our Foods Resource Bank (FRB) contribution this year was approximate $9000 and our total FRB contributions now exceed $110,000 over the eight years we have been involved. Our support of ministry and mission in our local community last year approached almost $35,000. And it is reasonable to estimate that over 5000 people in our community were touched in some way by the ministry of FCC; through worship, missions, ecumenical efforts, and the volunteer service of countless numbers of people in our church.
A continuing significant challenge for our church will be the maintenance, care, and use of our facility. We again put considerable resource into maintaining our building last year. Our capital campaign funds provided the lion's share of the money we spent on our property. Putting a new roof on the education and administration wing of our building represented the greatest expenditure. Looking to the future we know through some research that has already been done that thousands of dollars will have to be spent on the building in order to maintain it at the current level. The anticipated expenses to keep mechanical systems in the facility in good working order will almost certainly require another capital campaign sometime in the next three years. Our property committee and especially our interim chairs, Letcher and Paula Floyd are to be commended for their efforts to make sure the church property is maintained at the highest possible standard.
Finally, I want to thank our staff for the exceptional, professional, and most of all very faithful way that they serve this congregation. Michelle, Jeff, June, Linda, and Nancy are servant leaders in every sense of that word. Each in their own way and with the gifts and talents God has given them contribute beyond measure to the life of this congregation. Thank You doesn't say enough, but perhaps it is all that can be said about this outstanding group. I have been blessed to work with them. And it is testimony to each of them that they have dedicated no less than 7 and as many as 30 years to service in the name of Christ to FCC. I also want to include Jan Montgomery who continues to work with us after "retirement" on Mondays. Her continuing work with our church database and assistance with I T problems is a great help. And our newest member Sam Hilgediek has already made a positive impact on the way we continue to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness of any building in the downtown area.
Thank you for the privilege of being able to serve as your pastor this past year and now by the numbers, a snapshot of how we looked at the end of 2015:
PARTICIPATING MEMBERSHIP: 377
8:00 AM 49
10:15 AM 83
TOTAL AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 158
BY TRANSFER 12
BY BAPTISM 2
I conducted thirteen funerals and officiated at four weddings in 2015.
Reverend Greg Eberhard
Senior Minister, First Christian Church, Lafayette, Indiana.
Scripture of the Month
Luke 24: 1-5
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
March 20th Palm Sunday "Blessing of the Palms" @
10:15am followed by a joint Easter
Cantata with First Baptist Church at FCC
March 24th Maundy Thursday Service @ 7pm
March 25th Good Friday Service @ Noon
March 27th Easter Sunday Services @
8 & 10:15am
with breakfast from
(No Southside Service) Easter Egg Hunt
at 9:30 for children.
The Nominating Committee met last week and reviewed a list of names of people to ask to serve our church as Deacons. Our goal is to invite as many people as possible to get involved in the life of our church. If you are called by a member of the Nominating Committee, please prayerfully consider if this is the right time for you to support First Christian Church in this way. We also have an opportunity for someone to represent First Christian Church on the LUM Board. Thank you to Gary Henriott who has served us very well for the past several years, but is unable to continue in that role. If you have an interest in Lafayette Urban Ministries and its programs and would like to serve as our Church's representative to the LUM Board, please make your interest known to either Pastor Greg or me.
As an unexpected by product of the nominating process, June Beigh was able to provide me with an updated (and as current as we have) Church directory. I really appreciated having this directory because my old pictorial directory is a little out of date, and I suspect that a few of us have that same issue. June has agreed to make a dozen copies and place them in the Gathering Place and then to replenish the stack as necessary. So if you are interested in a more current Church directory, check out the Gathering Place and if you do not see any copies, check again later.
Jim Rybka, Chair of the Board and Congregation
One Service @10am
Team Leader: Donna Adams
Serving: Melanie Davis
Serving: Michael Davis
Serving: Linda Brammell
Serving: Sue Dismore
Set Up & Clean Up: Melanie & Michael Davis
Team Leader: Lytta Turner
Serving: Susie Nelson
Serving: Mike Nelson
Serving: Kathy Kremer
Serving: Gery Kremer
Set Up & Clean Up: Susie & Mike Nelson
Team Leader: Howell
Serving: Mary Sego
Serving: Daryl Killian
Serving: Dawn Ramey
Serving: Missi Findley
Serving: Shawn Findley
Serving: Brittany Feeney
Serving: Crystal Cover
Set Up & Clean Up: Howell & Dawn Ramey
Team Leader: Howell
Serving: Mary Sego
Serving: Daryl Killian
Serving: Dawn Ramey
Set Up & Clean Up: Mary Sego & Daryl Killian
Team Leader: Sandie Hauser
Serving: Robin Sturgeon
Serving: Carly Schneider
Serving: Debbie Schneider
Serving: Paula Floyd
Serving: Letcher Floyd
Serving: Carolyn Kanehe
Set Up & Clean Up: Debbie & Carly Schneider
Many thanks to the CWF members who worked so hard to make the "All You Need is Love" Valentine's Day Luncheon such a success. Dee Chitty did so much work on this, along with Donna Adams, Patty Smith, Robin Sturgeon, Jane Rubesch, Leslie Decker, Sandie Hauser, Susan Lysack, and Carolyn Henry. The Fellowship Hall was beautifully decorated and many thanks to June Pettit who entertained everyone with her lovely strolling Violin!! Congratulations to newlyweds Leslie and Frank Decker, who won the NewlyWed Game! The event netted $300 for CWF Projects.
Save the Dates, CWF Events
April 22-23 Women's Retreat at the Courtyard by Marriott
(Signups will begin soon!)
Featured Speaker on Saturday: Deanna Brown, a nationally known speaker who has taken numerous groups of American women to India and has done so much to help the needy women of India. You won't want to miss the powerful story she has to share.
Featured Speaker on Friday: Jan Wright, local owner of First Class Clutter who has given out more than 6000 blankets in downtown Lafayette through her Blanket Ministry. Friday night will also be a fun night with many activities planned. Weather permitting, we're even planning S'Mores around the fire pit at the Marriott.
The Retreat Committee hopes you will consider spending the night, so please be thinking of a roommate. This is a wonderful weekend to get to know other Christian women in our church, to search for inner renewal,and to deepen your faith in Christ.
May 5* Fashion Show, Rachel Circle
June 9* "Mosey Down Broadway" and Installation of Officers, Ruth
Circle, with Jeff Goodspeed and Barry Kemble, featured vocalists.
*These dates are tentative, but close, so keep watching! These two events are back by popular demand because they were so well done last year!!!! Because Southside will be using the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday evenings, these dates have been tentatively moved to Thursdays.
We have received the following additional memorials for Cheryl Tully from Harry & Charlotte Martin and the Chad and Mary Clevenger family; Charles & Paula Bennett; Gary & Jan Greer; Nelson & Mary Mosson; Norman & Tammi Acree; Michael & Sheryl Weist; Stephen & Delinda Fee and Melissa Acher.
We received the following memorials for Bob Prather from Dorothy Fountain; Samuel & Lisa Anserello; Norma Aiken; Nyona Rickel & Beth Parker; May Sharkey & Cynthia Schultz; and Wanda Sharp.
Dear friends at First Christian,
We received your check for $517.00 for the Tippecanoe Co. United Food Pantry. The Church Women United thank you for your donation. We serve the hungry in Tippecanoe County with your gifts of money, food staples and volunteers.
Yours in serving Christ,
Mary Alice Bauman, Treasurer
To my church family,
Thanks are not enough to say how grateful I am to all of you for your prayers, thoughts, cards, calls, and visits during the time I was at Westminster Village recovering from my broken ankle. I returned home on February 18th and get around in a stylish boot and either a walker or cane. All is going well and I expect to be back in church and see you all very soon.
Sincerely, Harriet Beeler
Sunday, March 20
, First Christian and First Baptist will present our third Holy Week Musical! Once again, we will worship together at First Christian with First Baptist following an ecumenical Blessing of the Palms at
Our combined choirs, along with guest instrumentalists and vocalists, will present Mary McDonald and Rose Aspinall's musical, "My Savior's Love." It is at times stately and at times tender, but always a powerful retelling of the last week of Jesus' life.
Please note that this service will take place at First Christian following the brief ecumenical Blessing of the Palms at
10:15. There will be no
8:00 or Southside service that day, but our
10:15 service will return to its normal time that day.
Music Ministry Calendar
March 6 Southside Praise Team leads worship
March 13 Bell Choir, Chancel Choir
March 20 Holy Week Musical -
10:15 @ First Christian
March 24 Maundy
7pm - Chancel Choir, drama
March 25 Good
Noon - special music
March 27 Easter - Chancel Choir, Bell Choir, instrumentalists
PLEASE KEEP IN YOUR PRAYERS:
Sue England-the Springs #215
Nursing Home/Homebound: St. Anthony's: Lynn Mann, June Brummett, Martha Oliver; University Place: Don Smith; Fowler Apts: Sue England; Cumberland Pointe; Harriett McDowell; Signature Healthcare; Mary Bogan; Westminster Village; Betty Mowery; Wesley Manor: Edith Sipple; Green Tree: Suzie Mounts; John & Norma Doremire At Home: Jeanne Dible, Mary Goodwin, Marilyn Galloway, Jim Sipple
Congregational Prayer Requests: Tom Tully, Walter Colburn, Carolyn Richardson, Becky & Fran Britt, Sarah Campos, Barb & Charlie Fisher, Cindy Lindstrom, Ann Prather, Denise Webb, Tom Stahlem, Loretta Lowe, Carol Bunker, Grace Jackson, Jane Sandifur, Jennifer Gutwein, Sarah Garvey, Lisa (friend of Cindy Garvey's), Lucille Maris, Alex & Sarah Long, Donna Hilgediek, Jenni Edwards, Lori Edwards, Lois Roberts, Joan Stefaniak, David Montgomery -Test
Our condolences to the family of Jerry Stefaniak who passed away on February 18th, 2016.
Pastoral Caregivers News
Thanks for all of you who donated supplies for Kathy Stirlen's ministry to others through art. She has started a superb support network for people who need support!
A request has been made to offer pastoral care training for men who wish to visit other men who are homebound. Please let me know if any of you are interested as well!
One more thing to mention - it is very important to notify the church if you or a family member are in the hospital. Please don't count on the hospital to contact the church - they are human just like the rest of us and mistakes happen. Many years ago at my old church I went to visit a couple in the hospital who were very angry that we had not come to visit sooner. It turns out that the wrong church had been contacted. Please don't let that happen to you!
Kids Club (K-5th grade)
March 6th "Game Night" at Pizza King (Veteran's Mem. & 18th) 4:30-6pm
Pizza provided just bring money for a drink and a friend!
GAME NIGHT IS OPEN TO EVERYONE!
March 13th Kids Club 5:30-7pm (Downtown)
March 27th Easter Egg Hunt at 9:30am!! (Top floor downtown)
NO KIDS CLUB MARCH 20TH OR 27TH
Pastor Greg will be offering Pastor's Classes on March 6th, 13th & 20th in his office for any family who has a child considering being baptized. Classes will start at 9:15am. Please contact the church office at 742-4058 if interested.
March 6th "Game Night" at Pizza King (Veteran's Mem. & 18th)
from 4:30-6pm. Pizza provided just bring money
for a drink and a FRIEND!
March 13th Youth Group 5:30-7pm (Downtown)
March 27th EASTER!
No youth meeting March 20th or 27th
329 North 6th Street
Lafayette, IN 47901