January 2021
LISTENING TO THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD–
FROM PASTOR LAWRENCE
The final Session meeting feels significant at the close of every year. True enough, it feels special for the time of fellowship we enjoy before we officially convene the December meeting of our church council. Then there’s the diligent review and discussion of the proposed ministry budget for the coming year.

This year our Clerk of Session, Judy Fisher, shared with us that it would be her last meeting as Clerk. If not for our virtual meeting via Zoom, I think we would have heard the quick intake of breath from many of our Ruling Elders. The announcement felt like we were crossing the threshold into another era.

Judy has served twice as Clerk. Her first appointment began in the late 1980s. After several years away from the role, Judy returned as Clerk in 2007 and served continuously through this year. From beginning to end, she bridged the days of the fax machine through virtual meetings on Zoom.

FROM PASTOR MARC’S DESK
A Season of Service

You don’t need to hear me tell you how different this past holiday season has been. Thousands upon thousands of words have been written about that already. For better or for worse, the pandemic has stripped away much of our celebrated pageantry through which we have come to recognize so much of the holiday season. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the classic children’s book,

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Like that hairy green antagonist of the movie, it feels like COVID-19 snuck into our homes uninvited this year and took away so many of our celebrations, our gatherings, our meals, and so many of our trimmings.

And yet...Christmas came nevertheless.

UPCOMING EVENTS
January 4:   Committee Annual Reports Due
January 4:  Confirmation Class 7:45pm

January 16:  Congregational Retreat (Zoom)
                     (See article below)

January 17:  Congregational Meeting after worship (Zoom)

For the latest information on upcoming ministry events, please check: 
 
The Church Calendar  
 
Visit Our Facebook Page
 
or contact the Church Office.
SAVE THE DATE: JANUARY 16 2021
FOR A “REALIZING OUR
CONGREGATIONAL CALLS” RETREAT

Please join us as we come together to consider how best to move forward from our multiyear discernment process of individual and congregational call. Join us for an update on Eradicating Systemic Poverty and Caring for Creation, an inspirational reflection by Rebecca Barnes, Coordinator of the PCUSA Hunger Programs, and a call to commit to action in 2021. We will gather for a morning retreat via ZOOM on Saturday, January 16, at 9:00 am. Check The Voice for login information.

See Pastor Marc's article for details.
Our Youth collecting food and writing cards and letters.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Happy New Year!

CE thanks the children and youth for their creativity in producing an amazing virtual performance of the Celebration at the Manger. A special, heartfelt thanks to Carla Blackmar Rice for her dedication in producing and directing again this year. Carla overcame many challenges due to the pandemic and it was no easy feat. Thanks so much for your perseverance, Carla! Many thanks to Pastor Marc for his creative technical skills and beautiful narration. The production was nothing short of phenomenal and we thank all involved.

We thank Candace Crist for her many years serving on the CE committee, especially for serving as CE co-chair. CE has benefited from Candace’s impressive organizational skills, her creative solutions and most of all her passionate spirit. Candace we are thankful for your time and talents and your presence on the committee will be missed. 

Virtual church school is being offered to the children (Pre-K through grade 5) every Sunday. The link to the pre-recorded church school lessons can be found on OPC’s website under the Learning and Growing section. Join us!

Confirmation class and Youth Group are going strong. Many thanks to Pastor Marc for his dedication to making sure our youth are continuing to learn and grow in their faith. 

Wishing you many blessings in 2021!
CCNS NEWS
 
My Christmas gift this year has been confirming a person to fill the open assistant job!!! I will be very very busy finishing up classroom, administrative work, annual report and trainings as we plan to start January 5th. Time this year was adjusted to 9:15-12:00 since Talawanda pushed their start time 30 minutes later

Sarah Lake
CCNS Director & Teacher
OXFORD PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN
Tuesday Afternoon Circle.
The Tuesday Afternoon Circle will not meet in January. Please review lesson four, “Lamenting Death” in the study “Into the Light Finding Hope Through Prayers of Lament”. 

Tuesday (monday) Evening (afternoon) Circle
You are invited to join the Zoom meeting on January 11 at 1:30 with Pastor Marc

THANK YOUs FOR THE THANK OFFERING
Last year OPW gave 1436.00 to the Thank Offering. This year to date 2985.00 has been collected!  YOU GO GIRLS! Way to help your neighbors!
CARES AND CONCERNS

Betty Barnhart, Jim Baer, Rodger Cromer, John Curry, Bob Douglass, Nancy Gates, Genee Hesse, Ruth Miller, Jan Reinhart, Becky Rudolph, Sarah Soika, John & Jean Woodruff

Keep these friends in your prayers
DECEMBER SESSION MEETING
Opening devotions were based on chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, relating the “times to…..” to todays world. 

Dick Munson and Candace Crist were thanked for their time and talents as their terms expire.

The proposed budget for 2021 was approved.

Motion approved to make the Seminary Building available to the Community Blood Center, every week in January and February, for the collection of Corona-19 plasma collection. Bridgite is to oversee the scheduling of the building for this use.

Caring for Creation was to proceed with an application to become an Earth Care Congregation.

Judy Fisher. Clerk
COMMITTEES OF SESSION
Highlights and Take FIves

WORSHIP AND MUSIC
The committee reviewed the process for making decisions regarding in-person worship and reviewed the latest data from the Butler County Health Department.  It was decided that we would do only live stream worship services for the foreseeable future due to the current severity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The remaining details for Advent and Christmas Eve worship services were finalized.  

It was decided that the practice of having a virtual fellowship gathering by Zoom immediately following the Sunday morning worship service would be continued.  The first such event on Sunday, December 6, was attended by a dozen parishioners and was very successful.

MISSION AND OUTREACH 
Funded Coalition for a Healthy Community for $300 for 2020.

Discussed Journey Outward Team’s proposal, M&O involvement, and a local journey idea.

Prospective 2021 Goals - food packing event, arranging a visit with one of our mission co-workers, help launch Journey Outward Team.

FRC has cold shelter housing up and running with two transitional housing units and six motel rooms to which OPC members donated clothing and household items. Recommended $400 from the COVID 19 Emergency Fund be given to Family Resource Center for our cold shelter and transitional housing residents to supplement their TOPSS food. 

STEWARDSHIP & FINANCE 
Working on/finalizing the proposed 2021 budget and all the related issues was the major accomplishment of the committee for this month.  The budget goes to Session for approval.

TRUSTEES
The Seminary steeple work is almost done.  A request was made by “Plant the Promise” for permission to plant tulips this autumn at the Memorial. This has been done in the past, at the location of the OPC information sign. A motion was passed unanimously to accept the plantings at that location. The AV system in the Memorial is functioning properly. There is a need to replace the broken window in the safe room (a designated place of refuge required by fire code) of the Seminary, perhaps with a glass block. Further consultation is needed to determine required access from the outside by rescue personnel. Pastor Lawrence expressed his gratitude for Scott Parkinson’s Trustee leadership over the past two years. This sentiment was echoed heartily by all participatingThe answer to the question of the month is: The catcher and the umpire.
MOECKEL HONORED WITH WIN OF THE FIRST ANNUAL MOECKEL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN CHURCH NEWSLETTER EDITOR-ING.  DECIDES TO RETIRE TO REST ON HER LAURELS.

Sad, but true.  Nancy Moeckel our beloved newsletter editor for the last, oh, about 11 years has announced her retirement effective July 2021.  Huge surprise parties are being planned now.  Several celebrities have already committed and more are being contacted even as we speak. Reserve your spot now, as the gala is limited to 1,500 attendees. 


HELP WANTED

Newsletter editor:  Work with great crew to compile monthly church newsletter.  A plum job.  Contact Pastor Lawrence or Bridgite.  
OUR COLUMBIA PARTNERSHIP

This is a note from Gina after she received $1000 from Mission and Outreach. Sue Wilson sent the donation for the team
 
Hi Susan!! Thank you very much, we have already withdrawn the money for the Bethesda Christian community!! will be destined to help families in great need and to buy school bags for the boys and girls of the Goel ministry!! God continue to bless and prosper you! a very special greeting to the Oxford Presbyterian Church!! a hug!! 

Sister Gina Zabala 
Administrative Director of the Seventh Presbyterian Church, Barranquilla, Colombia
READ THE LATEST FROM OUR MISSION PARTNERS

Joshua Heikkila is in Accura Ghana and Sarah Henken is in Columbia.  Each has written a long letter to share with you.

A Letter from Sarah Henken, serving in Colombia | December 2020 

and

A Letter from Josh Heikkila, serving as Regional Liaison for West Africa, based in Ghana 

To read these letters, go to presbyterianmission.org
click on 
News and Communications and then 
Letters From Mission Co-Workers.  

You can read the full letters from Josh and Sarah and sign up to receive future letters directly.
earth care congregation image
EARTH CARE

“ This is my Father’s World, And to my listening ears, All nature sings and round me rings”
 A year ago our congregation participated in the “Called to Life” seminars which resulted in our desire as a congregation to engage more fully in protecting God’s Creation, environmental justice, and living the gospel.  

The Earth Care Team is busy completing an audit of our church activities and projects in four areas:  worship, education, facilities, and outreach. There are points associated with each area and if we are able to accrue enough points, the audit will be presented to Session along with the Earth Care Pledge for affirmation.

Earth Care Pledge

1.      Our worshipand discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth. 

2.      In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community.

3.      Our facilitieswill be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.
4. Our outreachwill encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation, and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.


Quote for Today: “We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world.  We have been wrong.  We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us.  And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”  Wendell Berry

Definition for Today:  Carbon Emission:  Carbon emission is the release of carbon into the atmosphere. To talk about carbon emissions is simply to talk of greenhouse gas emissions; the main contributors to climate change.

Tip for Today:  Check your car’s tire pressure:  Properly inflated tires improve the car’s gas mileage. This will not only decrease your carbon emission but also save you money.

Sue Wilson for the team
TOPSS: A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR

I hope you are finding ways of making this time of year meaningful for your family, in spite of the pandemic. We have a lot to be grateful for at TOPSS, and I just want to send out some quick thank yous to follow up on the three headlines I shared with you in my last letter of October 31...

WE’RE OVER THE TOPSS! 
We have continued to receive monetary donations in response to the Kiwanis holiday drive, Oxford Empty Bowls, Chi Psi Stuff the Bus, and the Writers’ Harvest. These annual traditions have kept our Pantry shelves full, and helped us distribute $20, $30 and $40 Kroger gift cards to 166 families at Thanksgiving. We hope to distribute even more gift cards before December 25 so that all households in the Talawanda School District can enjoy delicious, nutritious meals. 

WE’VE REOPENED FOR CURBSIDE SHOPPING! 
We’ve had 18 service days since we reopened for choice shopping at the Pantry. We are doing curbside shopping so that shoppers stay safe in their vehicles while shopping assistants fill customers’ orders. The procedure seems to be working well and, even though it is not ideal, it is sustainable and has allowed households to choose exactly what they want from our inventory. Thanks to the volunteers who are making this work; staff member Candace Roseman for making the shopping appointments with our customers; and our customers who are patient with the need to wear masks and socially distance. We pledge to not disrupt service days if at all possible and, so far, we have kept that promise. We have changed our service hours to Mondays and Thursdays 3:00- 6:00 and Saturdays 12:00-4:00—simply call or text Candace at 513-839-1841 for an appointment. 

WE’RE GOING MOBILE WITH THE OXFORD FARMERS MARKET! 
Dave Rosenthal, Scott O’Malley, Ann Fuehrer, Ross Olson and Larry Slocum have been meeting to work out specifications and we are on track to purchase a customized, refrigerated 2020 Ford Transit Van before the end of the year. We will begin a mobile pantry in late spring, and the Oxford Farmers Market will be able to expand their eCommerce Market. Our collaboration has been very rewarding—look for us around town in late spring. 

As always, the community has been very generous in response to considerable need during the pandemic. Thank you. I will continue to keep you updated, though look for some new PR tactics from me, thanks to the efforts of a Capstone class in Strategic Communication taught by Professor Leiping You at Miami this past fall—they gave me some great ideas for social media and newsletters I hope to adopt soon.  Stay warm and safe and healthy.

Ann Fuehrer
Executive Director
When was the first New Year’s Eve ball
dropped in New York’s Times Square?

One 1 billion people watch each year as a brightly lit ball descends down a pole atop the One Times Square building on New Year’s Eve. The world-famous celebration dates back to 1904, when the New York Times newspaper relocated to what was then known as Longacre Square and convinced the city to rename the neighborhood in its honor. At the end of the year, the publication’s owner threw a party with an elaborate fireworks display. 
When the city banned fireworks in 1907, an electrician devised a wood-and-iron ball that weighed 700 pounds, and had 100 light bulbs. Lowered almost every year since then, the iconic orb has undergone several upgrades and now weighs in at nearly 12,000 pounds.
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: Nick Fears

Youth Director: Currently Seeking

Director/Teacher C.C.N.S.: 
Sarah Lake:                                                          ccnsoxfordpreschool@gmail .com    

Newsletter Editor: 
Nancy Moeckel,    moeckenj@miamioh.edu

Custodian: Priscilla Parks

Sexton: Nick Fears

JANUARY BIRTHDAYS

4      Jane Baer
5      Angie James
7     Elliott Boyle
7     Deanna Roberts
8      Joy Russell
9      Ellen Buerk
9      Tom Fey
9      Jessica Stephenson
10    Cindy Satkowski
12    Marty Miller
15    Mary Isabel Caspar
15    Doka Satkowski
16    Cora Friede
19    Judy Cross
19    Dolly Thomas
22    Scott Walter
23    Mike Sunderhaus
24    Mickey Preston
26    Steve Flee
27    Jane Jackson
27    Nancy Wilson
29   Cameron Hay-Rollins
29    Steve Snyder
30    Kim Logsdon
31    Andy Farler
JANUARY JUNQUE
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January 4 is National Trivia Day! Some handy trivia to help you celebrate

In Japan, letting a sumo wrestler make your baby cry is considered good luck.

The code of Hammurabi decreed that bartenders who watered down beer would be executed.

The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy.

George Washington gave the shortest inauguration address in history during his second inauguration on March 4, 1793. Washington's second inaugural address was only 135 words long!

The only woman to have ever sworn in a President was U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes who swore in Lyndon B. Johnson on board Air Force One.

1949 Harry S. Truman became the first president whose inauguration ceremony was showed on television.

QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Forrest left home running. He ran a ways and then turned left, ran the same distance and turned left again, ran the same distance and turned left again. When he got home, there were two masked men. Who were they?

By reading every word of every article, you will find the answer hidden somewhere in the newsletter.
We welcome your feedback on the newsletter. We LOVE your feedback like Velma loves to snuggle.What is missing from the newsletter that you would like to see? Is there anything you like about it? Let me know. moeckenj@miamioh.edu. Now here is your bonus for reading this section: I’m not impressed with the organizers of the New Year’s Eve celebration at Times Square. They always drop the ball.