Pastors Michael Lawson & Tara Keehn
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue II February 2019
Well, it is February!
We are in that strange moment when we bounce back and forth between warm wet weather and cold wet weather. We watch for snow, we watch for rain... we wonder. Will spring ever come back to us? Will we ever find ourselves in sunshine and daffodils again?
This is also the Month of Saint Valentine's Day! So all around us are pink, red, and lilac colored hearts, golden cupids and teddy bears holding hearts. Saint Valentine was a Priest who was sentenced to death by the Roman Emperor Claudius in 269 AD. He was given a triple execution (Yes that is a thing.) in which he was to be beaten, stoned, and then beheaded. Therefore it makes sense it should be the time of year for chocolates and stuffed animals.
Beneath the surface though, your church staff are already months ahead planning for Lent and Easter. I am telling you this now so that you can be ready to journey with your church family when we depart for Jerusalem (in a spiritual sense) on Ash Wednesday on March 6, 2019.
Already your worship design team, your musicians, and Pastors have been praying and thinking their way through the holy season. There theme sounds simple... "Were you there..." Our Lenten Journey will involve dramatic interpretations of the Passion Story of Jesus. Our hope is that you will come close the solemn mystery of this season.
Under the surface of the snow and mud of February, Spring is waiting to begin. Under the surface where no one thinks to look, your staff are preparing the soil for a change of season in our souls. Spring will come...
Happy February Birthday to…
02 Cheryl Hamilton 10 Bob Romanov 21 Shannon Liesch
04 Andrea Massow 10 Sharon Kaiser 22 Amanda Massow
05 Denise Pollachek 10 Bill Liesch 24 Jayne Mantz
05 Paul Peterson 15 Trudy Cunningham 24 Amanda Peterson
05 Nada Romanov 15 Ron Mauer 25 Leigh Coffey
06 Virginia Phillips 15 Lillian Harbart 25 Betty Evensen
06 Brooke Jackson 18 Kaitlyn Adkins 28 Allison Centracchio
07 Tod Blakely 19 Reese Welch 28 Mike Hopkins
07 Eddie Karsten 20 Tony Centracchio 28 Don Kremke
08 Fred Blakely 20 Allen Long 28 Henry Ryan
09 Annette McCarty 20 Mark Long
10 Madelyn Blakely 21 Lerryn Darnell
Happy February Anniversary to…
02 Terry & Sally Nohr
06 Bob & Nada Romanov
Have you checked out the church web site??
The address is: http://www.portageumc.org
Sundays @ 10:00am
Wednesdays @ 11:30am
Brown Bag Bible Study
Thursdays @ 6:00am
Breakfast at Schoops
First Friday Fellowship will meet on Friday, February 1st, at 5:00 p.m. at:
6130 U.S. Hwy 6
R.S.V.P. to Sandra Robinson at 764-8433 by noon February 1.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Friday, February 1st @ 9:30 am
Love, Love, Love that's what it's all about!
We would love to have you join us for fellowship,
conversation, breakfast snacks and our speaker,
Megan Johnston, coordinator for RECOVERY CONNECTION.
We would love to see you there!!
Here is a convenient way to tithe! Try PushPay with your mobile device or online!
Have you ever come to worship and realized you left your offering envelope at home or learned of a worthwhile mission you want to support only to realize you did not bring your checkbook? Wouldn’t it be a blessing to be able to give back to God in a matter of seconds using your smartphone or tablet, laptop or desktop?
We have partnered with a company named Pushpay to help us move into the 21st Century with our financial stewardship. Fewer and fewer people write checks much less use cash, especially younger adults.
Pushpay will allow us to give one-time gifts, recurring gifts or special gifts using debit or credit cards or ACH transactions from our bank accounts.
It is quite easy to get started. Simply text ‘pfumc’ to 77977 and follow the instructions on your screen. As part of the process you will be able to download the Pushpay app for either iPhone or Android.
Our trustees met on January 15. Connie Ellefson was chosen to be the chairperson for the trustees for 2019. We welcomed Pat Jackson, Aaron Massow and Virginia Phillips as our newest members. A review of our 2018 accomplishments included parsonage transition, handrail for the north door entrance, new 3-door refrigerator, driveway patching, total revamp of bell tower flower bed, freshly painted sanctuary, pastor's office and hallways and 2 new ceiling fans. Landscaping of parsonage and church property, desks for Pastor Michael and Pastor Tara, silver barn roof repair, gutter repairs, janitor room repairs, painting of fellowship hall, and many other maintenance type issues. Many thanks to so many who stepped up to share their skills, labor, monetary donations, time and energy. Some proposed ideas for 2019 include researching the cost of an electric church sign, widening the steps and installing more handrails in the sanctuary, continue work in our kitchen remodel with more new appliances, flooring, etc., remote handicap door opener for main door entrance, new toilets to name a few. A big wish list for sure and the trustees cannot complete these projects without financial support and volunteers. So, if you see an area that you have some knowledge in and would be willing to help the trustees in our efforts to make Portage First the best place to worship, please contact one of the trustees or leave your name and contact information in the trustees’ box. All things are possible with perseverance, sacrificial giving and some volunteer help. This October our church will be184 years old. We thank the circuit riders who traveled the Indiana wilderness back in 1835 with everything they owned on their back for their endurance and deep conviction to bring God to the settlers of Lake and Porter counties. This is our church. Let us continue to seek to Love God, Love Others and Offer Jesus to our community and the world.
Royal Family Kids Camp:
Our second annual breakfast fundraiser celebrating birthdays will be Sunday, February 24. Our church provides a backpack filled with essential items for each of the 80+ foster children, ages 7-12, during camp week which is July 22 to July 26 this year. We are asking our church family to consider bringing items and/or make a cash donation as their ticket for breakfast. The following items are needed: toothbrush & regular size toothpaste. 2/1 or 3/1 shampoo/rinse & bodywash, combs & brushes, twin size fitted (bottom) sheet or sheet sets and pillows. Breakfast will be served after first service (10:00-11:00) and after second service (12:15 to 12:45.). Tables will be decorated for each month of the year so come and celebrate your birthday month and support this mission project. So, mark your calendar for the 24th and come enjoy breakfast to benefit the kids.
Operation Christmas Child-Shoe box ministry:
This year's holiday decorated collection box can be found on a table in the narthex. We are excited to start our second year of "stuffing shoe boxes" for children. Suggested items can be found on a list clipped to the box. Empty amber and green colored pill bottles are needed (the bigger the better) and empty standard size shoe or boot boxes will be repurposed for this ministry. The most important items to be in every box are a wash cloth, bar of soap, toothbrush, tablet of paper and pencil/pen and then a whole bunch of fun stuff. We are so happy to report that we have received a very generous supply of wash cloths from an organization known as "The Well" for this year's boxes. So, for the next 3 months we would like to focus on collecting bars of soap (avoid strong scented soaps and no liquids), toothbrushes, pencils, pencils and notebooks, underwear and socks However, we welcome any type of donation between now and October. We cannot put toothpaste, candy or foods in the boxes. We reached 365 children last year so let’s meet or exceed that number this year. Every donation will be used to stuff a box. Remember if a child can use it, we want it. The only requirement is that it must fit inside a shoe/boot box. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Connie Ellefson 771-4025.
Annual Spaghetti Dinner
The annual Spaghetti Dinner will be on Saturday February 16 from 4:30-7:30. Plan on bringing your special date for an evening of delicious food, music, and fun with other couples. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year so please come and help our kids get to camp. Reservations now being accepted, sign up at the connection center.
Youth & MPK February Meetings
February 3, 12:30-2
Spaghetti Dinner February 16, please be here by 3:30 pm
Note from Pastor Tara:
Hello! I would like to announce that after much request, we will be bringing back the Pie Ministry! Pie Ministry is when we bake pies (from frozen) and deliver them to any newcomers that came to our church that day. On average, we have between 1-3 new visitors on a given Sunday. So, we will need basically three different types of volunteers.
1. Someone willing to pop the pies in the oven at church.
2. Someone willing to go through the attendance sheets to identify newcomers and their addresses.
3. Someone willing to deliver between 1-3 pies in the Portage area.
I am hoping to get at least 4 volunteers for each area so that the responsibility can be rotated throughout the month.
I will be having a Call-Out for interested volunteers after second service Sunday February 10th at 12:30. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall. We need a minimum of 6 volunteers, ideally 12.
I would also like to announce that we will be having a breakfast supporting Royal Family Kids Camp Sunday, February 24th. We are asking for donations as payment for your breakfast! We need: (for about 80 campers) Toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, hairbrushes, 3-in-1 shampoo/bodywash (70 needed), shampoo (15) and conditioner (15), body wash (15), and lap blankets.
Portage First United Methodist Church Finance Update
December 2018 Year to Date 2018
Non-Designated Giving $39,892.41 Non-Designated Giving $328,959.29
Operating Expenses $23,227.04 Operating Expenses $290,503.66
Debt Reduction Giving $3,245.00 Net Current $38,455.63
Debt Reduction Expense $2,080.92
Debt Reduction Giving $24,158.00
Apportionment Paid $2,869.04 Debt Reduction Expense $24,044.85
Net Debt Reduction $113.15
Overall Net Current & Debt $38,568.78
Apportionment Paid $28,994.84
What is 'Apportionment'? From www.umc.org -
The main way we support the ministries of the church is through our apportioned funds,
a method of giving that proportionally allocates the churchwide budget to conferences and local churches.
For United Methodists this method of giving has become a strong, generous tradition.
Together, through our connected congregations, we accomplish what no single church, district or annual conference ever could hope to do alone.
In this way, each individual, each family, each congregation gives a fair share for the church's work. We combine our prayers, presence, gifts and service to make a significant difference in the lives of God's people.
The Indiana Annual Conference asks that each church provide 11% of the prior month's income as their apportionment, 10% to the conference and 1% to the district.
Cub Scout Pack 487 will be having a pancake fundraiser Saturday, March 9th from 8am-11am here at the church. All donations will be going toward upcoming Blue & Gold Banquet Awards and summer events. If you are unable to attend or you don’t like pancakes, your donation is always welcome.
Please make checks payable to Cub Scout Pack 487 and contact Chris Adkins.
“Fish-On” - We’ll be fishing for fun, fishing for fish, and fishing for men at Portage’s annual “Fish-On” Fishing and Outdoor Show on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24. The event will take place at Woodland Park, and our table will feature a fishing activity for children. Saturday’s hours are 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and on Sunday the event runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. We are looking for both adults and children (accompanied by their parent) who would be willing to take a shift and staff the booth, have fun with kids, and talk with people about our church for a portion of the time. To sign up, or for more information, contact Wendy Smith, 707-0055. Also, watch for a sign-up sheet at the Connection Center.
Food Pantry: Food stamps do not cover personal care products. Margi Hamstrom, our representative with the Portage Township Food Pantry, has asked that the food pantry donations for the month of February include personal care products like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant…even dishwashing liquid. If you can help, please place your donations in the shopping cart in the Fellowship Hall. Thanks you in advance!
One Last Note from the Secretary,
Well the time has come for me to say goodbye. After 14 years of being your church secretary I am moving into a new position at Horizon Bank in Michigan City where I will be working in the Trust Department. This decision did not come lightly for me as I feel so much at home here at Portage First and I will truly miss this place, this office and the people that make up Portage First.
Through the years I have worked for four different Pastors, witnessed the good times and the bad, raised money for our youth to attend church camp and even went along once to feed the hungry teens during “That Thing”! I have led our youth group, attended bible studies, the Walk to Emmaus and many Sunday mornings here. I have laughed with you, cried with you and mourned with you. I’ve watched your children grow-up and welcomed many new faces. I was with you through the purchase of the “farm”, the start-up of PF Hope, outdoor worship services and even put in the dunk tank for August Rush! I’ve seen members come and go and come back again, shared in the baptisms of babies through adults and welcomed new members and yes, I even endured 28 rummage sales! The list goes on and on but one thing always remained constant…my love for my job and the people I was in-trusted to look after.
I have enjoyed the many hats I wore here from being the secretary to the “church counselor”. I loved the chats I would have with many of you in my office, as you know I love to talk! You have cared for me as much as I have cared for you and I will always be grateful for my time here.
Portage First is an amazing place, with amazing people and if I had to do it all over again with you, I would in a heartbeat! You gave me the opportunity to grow in many ways and I thank you all.
I will leave you with one last thing, I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give one bit of advice…. love one another, be kind, volunteer, be present, join a bible study, work with the youth, take care of your church as if it were your home, be mindful of your words, mistakes happen, offer forgiveness and grow your faith. Above all, remember why you are here.
Goodbye Portage First, it’s been an amazing ride and I will be seeing you!
Former Office Administrator
P.S. Be patient with the new girl. She has big shoes to fill!