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February 2019
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2018 Annual Report of the Pastor

Every Sunday morning in Oxford begins the same way for me.  Before breakfast, I take a ceramic crock from the back of the refrigerator.  I give the beige liquid a stir.  Then I add four ingredients and thoroughly stir once more.  I set the crock aside while the body of Christ gathers to worship God on the corner of Church and Main.

Sunday evening, I draw out one cup of that liquid from the crock to which I add water, flour and salt. These simple ingredients make new, each week, a staple of human life that has endured from the dawn of recorded history - bread.   The ingredients are so versatile. Some weeks, I make loaves of bread for sandwiches and toast. Other weeks, I follow Tip Ziegler's recipe for a round, crusty, French boule. Sometimes, I'll make an Oatmeal bread recipe from my mother.
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Frederick Buechner shares that when we journey, a scrap of our heart is sent ahead.  This certainly is true for our first church tour, the "Spirit of Scotland." Journeys of heart, mind and spirit to Scotland have already begun throughout the congregation and even into the Oxford community.
Early bird registration is now open through March 31 for the "Spirit of Scotland."   

This eight-day guided tour exploring our sacred heritage in Scotland will be led by Pastor Lawrence in coordination with Rev. James Wallace (Church of Scotland). Ecumenical and welcoming, interested friends and neighboring congregations are invited to join us in May-June 2020f or this exciting spiritual journey.
The brochure and booking form are now available on our church homepage -  https://oxfordpresbychurch.org   - and clicking on "Spirit of Scotland" under News, Events, and Calendar.  Credit card payment options for the Early Bird Deposit are also available on the website.
Printed information is also available outside the church office.  
For any inquiries please contact
Pastor Lawrence  pastorlawrence@oxfordpresbychurch.org
Ellen Buerk-  ebuerk@hotmail.com
Will Hazleton  hazletwa@miamioh.edu  
We are happy to meet with anyone individually, as couples, families or small groups.
Join us for this journey of the heart, mind and spirit.

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The season of Lent starts later this year (March 6), so February is a quiet month for Christian Education. Don't let the quiet fool you though - there's a lot of planning going on!  

Jenny Bailer, Candace Crist and Pastor  Marc van Bulck  are busy planning for the Lenten studies, on the theme of Spiritual Practices, which will be offered for Adult Education. Be on the lookout for communication about that soon. 
During the month of February, church school is teaching about the season of Epiphany, a time when lessons focus on the miracles of Jesus. We are in need of teachers to teach the 3rd-5thgrade class in April and May. If interested, please let me know.
Be sure to check out Jake Smither's Youth Program news article.  Jake is doing a fabulous job organizing our youth in many areas - Souper Bowl Day of Caring, Thursday and Sunday Night Youth Groups, Confirmation class, etc.
Many blessings,
Jenn Walter
Chair, Christian Education committee
(513) 593-4883
Preschool and Nursery- Rhonda Krehbiel and Rori Lykins
Grades K-2- Sarah Miller and Deb Sayers
Grades 3-5- Debbie DeGennaro
Grades 6-8- Prue Dana 

Gabriel Jones (Feb. 10, 17 and 24)
March 5- Shrove Tuesday - Fat Tuesday Youth Pancake Dinner fundraiser, 5:00-7:00pm, at the Seminary Building
March 6 - First Day in Lent - Ash Wednesday 
March 10 - First Sunday in Lent - Lenten Materials available in the Molyneaux
Our Youth Room had an upgrade!  We've added a couch and it's a great addition.  At the last High School Youth Group meeting, we were able to enjoy it during bible study with Pastor Marc, where we talked about Epiphany. Youth moved into small groups for discussion.  The couch is one of the many additions that will be added to the Youth Room in the coming months, and we hope you're just as excited as we are to keep moving forward with our Youth Program!

On Sunday, February 3 from 11:30-12:30  Youth will be collecting non- perishable foods to donate to Oxford Community Choice Pantry.  Our goal is to collect 150 items for families and individuals in need in the local area.  OCCP serves approximately 300 families in the Talawanda
School District.  Help us reach our goal!

The Confirmation class will begin meeting with mentors soon!  Each confirmand wrote a letter to someone in the congregation, whom they thought would be a good fit to be their mentor. Mentors will be there to help through the process of confirmation with any questions Also, they will meet one on one to discuss what it means to be a Presbyterian
Jake Smithers Youth Director

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Special Gifts during 2018 totaled $111,726 enabling the Oxford Presbyterian Church to address a broad range of needs. Progress in so many areas would not have been possible without the generosity of many members and friends. 

As we moved towards the celebration of the rededication of the Seminary building funds were provided to cover costs ranging from necessary insulation to the incorporation of state of the art presentation systems for both the upper sanctuary and the lower community room. 

The Memorial location was blessed with the addition of 
  • protective tempered glass over the windows in the sanctuary, 
  • the choir loft and the rose window; 
  • replacement of the fencing around the playground area; 
  • funding for the handicapped entrance 
  • and a proposed handicapped restroom. 

The concept of music internships to address the loss of several choir members was introduced resulting in the enhancement of our worship music program as well as our college outreach efforts. Gifts were also received in support of the youth mission trip, the Deacon's Food Drive and Habitat for Humanity.

As the year concluded, the following gifts were received in December:
  • Randy and Layne Listerman $1,000. Music internships
  • Don and Jane Kelly  $1,000. Deacon's food drive
  • Anonymous  $2,000. Music internships
  • Jim and Dolly Thomas  $1,000.Music internships (in memory of Amy Thomas)
  • Johanna Reinhart  $5,000.Handicapped restrooms Memorial
  • Anonymous   $9,000.Memorial windows protective glass (Rose and Choir loft*)
A very special "Thank You!" is extended to all those who gave generously throughout 2018. Your ongoing dedication to the work and mission of the Oxford Presbyterian Church is appreciated and necessary as we continue to build a church that is Real, Relevant and Reformed. May the momentum be maintained in the New Year.

Bill King, 
OPC Special Gifts Coordinator

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Keep these friends in your prayers:
Betty Barnhart, John Curry, Tracy DeGood, Bob Douglass, Nancy Gates, Genee Hesse, Breanna Kinneman, Ruth Miller, Jan Reinhart, Becky Rudolph, Sarah Soika, Joan Teckman, Dave Wilson, Stacey Winn, John and Jean Woodruff 
Lord in Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayers

2019 Stewardship Campaign
As a result of the 2019 stewardship campaign, we have received a total of 117 pledges. Of this total, 11 were new pledging units. Your financial commitment is greatly appreciated and enables Stewardship and Finance to more accurately plan for 2019. The Stewardship team wishes to thank all those who have pledged for their generosity and support.



The Hamilton High School Athletic Department announced the members of the 23rd class of the Hamilton City School District Athletic Hall of Fame. These inductees will be introduced at half time of  the Boys Basketball game vs. Oak Hills on Feb. 8 followed by the induction dinner on Feb. 9.
The banquet will be held at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts with a social hour beginning at 6 p.m. in the Vista Room and the dinner beginning at 7 p.m. in the Carruthers Signature Ballroom.

Just a few of the achievements that earned Nancy her induction.
Athletic Accomplishments
Hamilton High School:    
Tumbling Team (2 years 1946, 47)
Tennis Team (3 years 1stSingles, '46, '47 & '48)
Miami University             
Physical Education & Biology B.S. '48
Varsity Field Hockey, Basketball & Tennis  (4 Years each)
Dance Theatre (4 years)
1952 State Doubles Champion with Jo Popp
Women's Athletic Association Officer (3 Awards)
Received Varsity Letters in 2009 from Miami University along with other athletes who had recognized for their accomplishments while at MU

Career Accomplishments/Honors
Hiram College (1952-54)Taught Women's Physical Education
Miami University (1954-55) Graduate Assistant earned Master's Degree
Miami University (1956-2002) 47 years!!!
Women's Tennis Coach  (2 years)
Fencing Club Advisor (12 years)
Women's Recreation Association (12 years)
Awarded Grant for Vintage Dance Lessons at the Flying Cloud Academy of Cincinnati

Honors at Miami University
1999 Oxford Parents of the Year 
1996 Outstanding PE Graduate by MU PE Dept.
Continuing Ed. Classes Dance, Tennis, Aerobics, Aquatics
Recognized by National Forum For Advancement of Aquatics for Arthritis Aquatics Instructor
Institute For Learning in Retirement in Ballroom Dance, Folk Dance, Line Dance
Oxford Skating Club Instructional Classes for Beginners, Ice Show Director, and President of Oxford Skating Club

Other Honors/Volunteer/Accomplishments
1989 Oxford Citizen of the Years 
Oxford Senior Citizen Exercise & Dance (33 years)
Ballroom Dance Classes at Oxford Community Arts Center (6 years)
TRI Recreation Board (3 years)
18 Lifetime Tennis Tournament Championships in Singles, Doubles and Senior events
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SESSION session

The hymn focus for January was "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry".  It evoked feelings of constancy, love, God's presence in our lives.
The annual statistical report was approved and will be sent to presbytery.
Special gifts, in the amount of $19,000 were received.  These included music internships, deacon's food drive, handicapped restrooms for the Memorial Building, and protective glass for two windows in the Memorial Building.

Short orientation was held for new members (and as a refresher for continuing members).
Judy Fisher

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Pastor Lawrence thanked Kent for the extraordinary music during Advent, including Tuba Quintet, Oxford Brass, and along with Lynn Jacobs and the choir, a beautifully orchestrated Christmas Eve Service. 

The Celebration of the Manger directed by Jennifer Walter performed to a packed crowd and in its fifth year was a huge success. 

Keyboard for the Seminary: It was agreed to accept this gift to be used at the Seminary and the necessary repairs be made. Since it is portable and not effected by moisture it is the preferable choice over a piano. 

New chairperson, Dick Munson 
We welcomed Lara Osborne, president of the newly named TOPSS (formerly Oxford Community Choice Pantry). Lara gave us a detailed presentation of their plans for a new building.
Russia mission trip needs commitment by February 15.
Jenn officially welcomed Pastor Marc to his first CE meeting at OPC. He is excitement to begin working with us. He was invited by Candace to meet with her and Jenny when they begin discussions about upcoming adult education opportunities and by Jenn, Emily and Debbie when they begin evaluating church school curriculum for next year. 

Youth Report 
Trienium is the youth event for Presbyterian youth held every three years at Purdue University. Jake has requested someone to assist as registrar and Emily volunteered. 
Mission Trip(s): These will be local, perhaps in the greater Cincinnati and/ or Dayton areas. 

Souper Bowl of Caring : This annual fundraiser held on Super Bowl Sunday will be on February 3at Memorial.

Pancake Dinner : This annual youth fundraiser held on Fat Tuesday will be on March 5 at the Seminary.
Directory pictures: New pictures will be taken on Saturday, February 16. 
Defibrillator Update - Device is now in the church office and will be hung up by the trustees after they set up training with certified EMS personnel. 
Ideas on managing popcorn machine? An instruction sheet will be created and added to the machine for everyone to be able to use the new machine for fun and fellowship. 

Scott was elected President of the Trustees. Nick Fears was re-elected Vice President. Those present expressed great appreciation for Keith's years of service as Trustee President. 
The Trustees voted unanimously to gratefully accept end of year donations from numerous donors. 
The current state of the Seminary reconstruction work was discussed. Bids are coming regarding the upgrade of the AV system on the lower level for which funding has become available. We are awaiting bids for the replacement of the lower level windows. The locking storage 
closet has been installed. Touch-pad locks have been installed and re-keying will be scheduled. Nick was authorized to proceed with the insulation project for the Seminary and the Manse
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We have been blessed this past semester with the presence of a quartet of Miami University Student Choral Interns in the Chancel Choir. The role of these singers in the choir is to bolster the strength and sound of each individual section of the choir as well as to enhance our ability to sight-read and learn new repertoire. From my perspective as Music Director, their contribution has been immense, a true gift from God!
Soprano Dana Kuehn comes from Medina, OH. She is a 5th year senior with a Major in Vocal Music Education, and Minors in Theatre Arts and Arts Management She has been a singing member of the Choraliers for two years and most recently sang in the Collegiate Chorale. She is currently studying for the LSAT and taking a gap year to explore various options for her future endeavors be that law or grad school or a music job.
Alto Ellie Wilmes is  a freshman at Miami University and hails from Louisville, Kentucky. Her Major is Vocal Performance with a Minor in Music Theatre. She hopes to add a Minor in Arts Administration to her course of study. She sings in the Chamber Singers Ensemble. She intends to attend graduate school after her undergraduate study and after that "perform wherever the lord takes me."
Tenor Caleb Orr  is a sophomore and comes to Miami University by way of Avon Lake, OH. He is pursuing a double major of Music Education and Vocal Performance. He sings with the Men's Glee Club, the Collegiate Chorale as well as the student a cappella ensemble "The Cheezies." He hopes to either get a teaching job in music or pursue graduate school upon completion of his undergraduate studies.
Baritone/Bass Aaron Garne is a freshman and comes from Creve Coeur, a suburb of St. Louis. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance as well a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. He sings with the Chamber Singers Ensemble. He aspires to classically perform or be a constitutional litigation attorney.
Kent Peterson, Music Director  
DEACONS deacon

Do you know someone who needs a Prayer Shawl? Shawls are given for comfort in times of illness or grief, as well as for celebration in times of joy.  If you have a friend or relative to whom you would like to give a Prayer Shawl, please contact Cornelia Browne, 523-1680
The Tuesday Afternoon Circle will meet on February 19 at 1:30 in the Country Kitchen with Lynn Cronk leading the lesson and the Mission Yearbook Study.  Becky Quay will conduct the Least Coin.
Reservations for the optional noon lunch in the café at the Knolls are due by Friday the 15th to Lynn Cronk.  Visitors and guests are always welcome.
The Tuesday Evening Circle will meet in the home of Karen Simpson, 1325 Dana Drive, on February 5. The co-hostess is Janet Holmes. Nancy Sturgeon will present the program. Janet Ziegler will lead the Devotions. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Guests are welcome.
Anyone needing a ride should call Karen Simpson, 523-8363.
Each year, Oxford Presbyterian Women present the Honored Woman Award to one or two women who have faithfully, willingly, and joyfully given their time and talents to the work of the church.We celebrate their many contributions to the mission, growth, and welfare of OPC and its vibrant congregation. 

Please consider thoughtfully any  women in our congregation whom you admire for their organizational skills, ability to lead or teach, willingness to participate regardless of task, and dedication to assisting those in need.  

 Then write a letter of nomination detailing her work and send it to Jo Reinhart at jreinhart16@woh.rr.com, or mail it to 175 Stone Creek Drive, Oxford OH 45056.  If you have questions, please contact Jo by email or call 513-523-4742.


That exclamation is heard often following a choir selection during our worship services. The music evolving from our choir members through the excellent leadership of director Kent Peterson and with the consummate accompaniment of organist, Lynn Jacobs has been outstanding and is so appreciated. 

Where did the Wow! come from? A considerable asset has been the introduction of choir interns within each section of the group. They not only have contributed significantly to the quality of the music; their presence has boosted the energy and enthusiasm of the entire program.

The music intern program evolved from the need to replace several voices in the choir that had been lost through the death or relocation of key members. The idea was initiated as several gifts were given in memory of Richard Fisher who was a faithful member of the choir for many years. 

Given our proximity to Miami University with an excellent music program, it was determined that we seek assistance from this obvious source of available talent. The music internships were developed to meet our need to enhance our worship services while supporting our efforts to expand our college student outreach mission. 

The results, as witnessed through the first semester of the current school year, have succeeded well beyond expectations. Not only have our talent needs been met, but we have found that we have introduced a unique cultural relationship of progressive interaction between students and regular choir members, noted that friends of choir interns are evident within our Sunday services, and welcomed visiting parents who come to witness their student's involvement in a very worthwhile focus which complements their academic programs. 

The comments evolving from veteran choir members and student interns tell a very positive story.  A sampling of perspectives coming from our choir members include: "The interns provide strong, professional support which has contributed to our over-all vocal growth!" and "With the interns, we have been able to perform selections that are more challenging and are more satisfying for our director, our organist, our choir and our congregation."and "We love the camaraderie, vitality, talent and enthusiasm that our interns have brought to our music program."

Interns have commented that. "We are grateful for our friends, as well as our parents, as we see them in the congregation and we appreciate their support."and, "We are inspired as we participate in Sunday services and feel ready to face another week," and "We enjoy contributing in a practical way to the community beyond Miami University."

Based on the success of the first year of the choir intern program, we look toward continuing this approach.   While it would be wonderful to establish an endowment fund to support ongoing commitment, donations at that level are unlikely. Alternatively, OPC is introducing an "Adopt an Intern" approach to encourage support. The model of applying an internship in support of each choir section is working well and requires four interns during each academic year. The total yearly cost is $12,000 with each intern funded at $3,000. If four individuals would offer to adopt an intern for one year, the program is assured for that period.

If you might be inclined to direct a gift for this effort contact  Bill King, OPC Special Gifts Coordinator, (513) 523-2546


ments                                   ANNOUNCEMENTS
For February, I will be showing the recent church services on DVD at 10:00  on Tuesday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 26. Join me in the Activity Room of the Skilled Nursing area.  Becky Quay
Our picture directory is being revised!  If you are new members and aren't in the directory, if you missed having your picture taken last year, or if you want a new picture to replace the previous one...we've got you covered. 

Save the date, Saturday, February 16th. You can register for your appointment online beginning mid-January; watch the bulletin and Voice for specific information.

In addition to new and updated pictures, we will be able to add new information, update information, and make corrections to the current directory.  If you have changes, please contact Bridgite Dickerson in the Church office at 523-6364.

Make it easier to connect with our congregation members and for them to connect with you!  Be an active part of our directory program!
Pat Gifford for Membership, Evangelism and Fellowship 

The Membership, Fellowship, and Evangelism (MEF) Committee was inspired by the seniors in the video at the rededication of the Seminary Building. All of them mentioned enjoying the "Supper Club" that met regularly for potluck dinners.  So, taking that cue, we are trying something new with our gatherings for fellowship and food this year.

We plan to meet every month for a family potluck dinner (The Supper Club), with either games, entertainment, a movie or some fun activity.  We will gather once a month, usually on Sunday from about 5-7 in the Seminary. 

Our first event will coincide with the Seminary Cinema Series on the Spirit of Scotland, February 24th, at 4:00 to watch "Greyfriars Bobby."  The movie will take place upstairs at the Seminary, then we will follow with Supper Club downstairs.   

Do you have a drawer full of fun conference swag?  Did you get 437 free calendars in the mail?  Do you have more key chains than you have keys? If you answered YES to even one of these questions, WE NEED YOUR HELP.  The local nursing home, on Contreras Road,  Premier Estates,  is in need of prizes for their Bingo games.   Prizes can be anything from a calendar to a stress ball, small picture or fuzzy stuffed animal, comb or brush or lotion, etc. No food or candy since many residents are on special diets.  Mission and Outreach will have a donation box outside Bridgite's office until February 10.  Bingo games are frequent, so there is a continuing need and staff at the facility are truly appreciative of our donations, offering free hugs in return for the prizes.  Ask Nancy Moeckel, moeckenj@miamioh.eduor 523-6003 if you have questions 

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COMMUNITY community

Oxford Community Choice Pantry is changing their name to better reflect their service area and the coming addition of new services. Their new acronym is TOPSS, which stands for Oxford Talawanda Pantry and Social Services.  

TOPSS was chosen to be a more comprehensive description of "communities" included and services provided under one roof.  "Surviving and Thriving" is the new theme.  A person or family can come to the facility  for hunger issues, and before they leave, learn about other services and issues, which can be addressed

One of their first initatives is to raise money for that new 5,000 square foot building that will have room for meetings, offices, education, child care for clients, and more, especially including the food services.  There will be a" pay as you can" café, that all folks can enjoy, with the hope of inviting more community members to become aware and active with TOPSS, while enjoying a nutritious meal.

This will be a major fundraising event and things are already happening!  TOPSS  must leave their current facility by June 30, 2020. 

Groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled for August 2019!

TOPSS is asking for financial help from 5 major sources: Government sources and government grants, Campus and student organizations, Individuals, Grants (non government), and the Faith Community, including OPC. 

What they also need from OPC, even before funds, is a General. That General will be "a passionate doer" who can meet with Generals from other faith groups to share ideas and build a groundswell of support and ongoing loyalty.  OPC has the ongoing loyalty, indeed!  Is there a General among us, to lead this good fight?  We'll get you plenty of foot soldiers to help carry out the mission.  If you are interested, let Pastor Lawrence know.
There will be a monthly newsletter column to keep us up-to-date on this vital community project.  Give being a General some real thought.  You are needed.

Nancy Moeckel (with info from Lara Osborne, president of TOPSS)
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Wednesday August 30, 2017: The Colombian Culture:   This day was scheduled to be a day of relaxation after the previous full days of activities.  However, we had to arise early in order to be ready for pick-up at 8:00 am for a drive to Cartagena.  Our drivers for the day 
Historic Citadel

were Alexander's brother Germán, and Gina's brother Paulo.   The city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as  Cartagena de Indias is a major port  founded in 1533, located on the northern coast of  Colombia
We spent the morning exploring the Castile, which is a large old fort where the Spanish were able to defeat the invading English.  And, we were told that is why the people of Colombia speak Spanish today instead of English!   Then it was on to the beach.  Lawrence and Karen went swimming,  but the rest of us declined, as the day was overcast and not hot like the other days earlier in the week. 
Afterwards we drove through the Old City inside the walls and enjoyed the Spanish architecture from the colonial era.

During the car ride home we talked with  Johana about life in Colombia.   While they  have car insurance, health insurance, pensions, and maternity leave, many in Colombia have nothing. 
There is a terrible amount of government corruption.  Everyone is covered under the government health insurance program, even the Venezuelan refugees.  Howeverthe government is slow to reimburse the health care providers, which is another big problem.  
The country is 99% Catholic, but the divorce rate is still fairly high.  Johana's husband, Daniel, is an artist and he creates many beautiful posters for his work and also for the Church.
Old Town Cartagena
We went to lunch in an authentic Colombian restaurant.  The food was good but we have a memory of the green fish soup that included fish bones and scales.  Lawrence declared that the soup was absolutely delicious!  (The rest of us withheld our praise for the fish soup.)  

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Oxford Presbyterian Church Staff
Office Hours: 8:30-4:30, M-F
Telephone: 513-523-6364
Fax: 513-523-8215
Seminary Building: 513-523-7411
Pastor: Lawrence Bartel
Associate Pastor: Marc van Bulck
Music Director: Kent Peterson
Organist: Lynn Jacobs
Pastor Emeritus: Dr. Joseph R. Hookey
Parish Associate:   Rev. Diane Ziegler
Clerk : Julia R. Fisher
Administrative Assistant:
            Bridgite Dickerson: office@oxfordpresbychurch.org
Financial Secretary:
            Mary Martin:   finance@oxfordpresbychurch.org
Director/Teacher C.C.N.S.:
            Sarah Mapel: ccnsoxfordpreschool@gmail.com
Newsletter Editor:
            Nancy Moeckel, moeckenj@miamioh.edu
Custodian: Priscilla Parks
Sexton: Robert Simpson

Class of 2019: 
Jenny Bailer, F. Harrison Green, Greg Hughes, Nancy Moeckel,
Johanna Reinhart 
Class of 2020
Candice Crist, Danny Cross, Pat Gifford, Richard Munson, Jennifer Walter
Class of 2021
Lisa Brunckhorst, Carol Klumb, Gene Krebs, Ginny Layton, Katie Payne


Class of 2019:
Debbie Davidson, Janet Holmes, Pat Roberts, Robert Smith, Diane Young, 
Class of 2020
Cornelia Browne, Jill Grajewski, Stephanie Hartman, Matt Lykins, Becky Quay
Class of 2021
Arly Allen, Lee Fisher, Ginny Scott, Karen Shearer, Mickey Simonds


Class of 2019:  Keith Payne, Joe Simpson
Class of 2020:  Rick Bailey, Scott Parkinson
Class of 2021:  Nick Fears, Joy Russell
4         Lawretta Clum
4         Jinna Myers
5         Elsa Friede
5        Finnegan Friede
5         Eric Staley
9         Ginny Staberg
10       Jenny Bailer
11       Evan Bader
14      Katherine Butterfield
14       Karen Remley
16       Ginny Layton
16       Mary Shinn
17       Sue Siegel
18       Susan King
21       Ethan Crist
21       Jeremy Crist
21       Leanne Staley
23       Ruth Keebler
23       Timothy Richmond
23       Dave Wilson
25       Kristie Rezanka
25       Katie Saylor
27       Missy Friede
27       Tom Holmes
27       Jake Smithers

February frequently occurs in lists of the most commonly mispelled words in the English language.
The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania,
Groundhogs are the largest  species  in the squirrel family. 
What do you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with?
As always, read every column in the newsletter to find the answer.
What was the best thing BEFORE sliced bread?
At the movie theatre, which armrest is yours?
Why do people say, "heads up!" when you should duck?
February 14th is the second largest card-giving  day  of the year, just after Christmas  (my address is in the directory...ed)
The new format for the online newsletter has been delayed.  Kindly accept my apologies...thanks, Nancy
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From beginning to end, this is a spiritual practice. The mysterious gift at the center of this spiritual practice is that liquid in the crock. It is "starter."  Given to me over fifteen years ago, this starter came with a pedigree documented back to the American West in the 1890's.  As the dough rises every week, I marvel at how the starter is more alive than ever, yet it is not the same as it was one hundred and twenty years ago in Utah. 

The joy of ministry with the body of Christ that is Oxford Presbyterian Church reminds me in many ways of the spiritual practice of bread making. As I reflect back on 2018, I perceive how the Holy Spirit continues to renew and remake our congregation. Our worship, discipleship and mission are dynamic, not static like a stone. 
At the Leadership Retreat in January, we discerned the following vision for 2020: to invigorate the congregation's spiritual journeyinwardand fuel the congregation's missional journey outward.
Among the many ways this vision guided us throughout the year include 
  • Five pilgrims walking in the footsteps of Jesus through the Holy Land while connecting with contemporary Christian communities;
  • A dozen high school youth coming face to face with Christ during a week of mission in Charleston, SC; 
  • Christian Education opportunities engaging wider circles of the church family in life-long faith formation; 
  • Building quality, affordable housing for families in the Oxford community through Habitat for Humanity;
  • Strengthened relationships with Miami University and area ministries to address local food insecurity through theCommunity Meals, Community Choice Pantry, Backpack Program and more.  We also took a bold step in confronting global food insecurity by packaging over 15,000 meals in the "Rise Against Hunger" that were delivered to the Dominican Republic.
  • Dozens and dozens of youth actors and musicians bringing Jesus' birth to life through the "Celebration at the Manger."
Anchoring this vision are the two church buildings of our campus - the Memorial Church and the Seminary Church.  Though never fully one or the other, to a large degree the Memorial Church will be the primary site for our congregation's spiritual journeyinward.  The Seminary Church will be the primary incubator for our congregation's missional journey outward.

Just as the 120 year "starter" enlivens all of the dough, the Holy Spirit has worked through our congregation to bring about an amazing renovation of the Seminary Church.  The remarkable work of the Trustees and many others in the congregation brought us to an unforgettable Service of Rededication on Reformation Sunday in October. Already the Seminary Church has been actively leveraged for mission initiatives, youth events, church and community meetings, worship services and film presentations. 

While our flourishing ministry has deep roots stretching back to the early 19th  century, I'm most enthusiastic for the Spirit's call in this time as lives continue to be transformed.  The horizons for transformation grew with the congregation's call of Rev. Marcel van Bulck as our Associate Pastor for Family Ministry and Campus Ministry.

The potential for transformation will continue to grow in 2019 as our congregation begins participation in the Myrtle Collaboration through Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Grounded in a theology of call, the Myrtle Collaboration invited our church to explore how each one of us may experience fuller, deeper, more purposeful lives as disciples of Christ in the 21stcentury.

I'm truly grateful and privileged to work with a gifted staff who seeks to serve this congregation. I'm equally thankful and humbled to work with the extraordinary committees and teams that faithfully carry out the vision and mission of our church in so many ways seen and unseen.
May the Lord, the Bread of Life, never finish re-making, re-fashioning, and re-forming this body of Christ.

Pastor Lawrence

Answer to the Question of the Month
A chair, a bed, and a toothbrush
(they can't all be gems...ed)
We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. We CRAVE your feedback like a dog craves food falling to the floor.  What is missing from the newsletter that you would like to see? Let me know. Thanks, nancy.  moeckenj@miamioh.edu (Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" "It's Not Unusual)