First United Methodist Church
Rev. Michael Lawson & Rev. Tara Keehn
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue VIII August 2018
From the Pastor:
One of the things about having a dog like Barley is coming home. I pull into the garage and turn off the car, I shut the garage door. I can hear him whining. I’m home and he can’t wait to see me. I open the door and he is panting and jumping. He gets underfoot, he makes climbing the stairs hard and carrying in groceries practically impossible. He steps on my feet. It’s perfect.
So now Portage is our home. Barley loves the back yard, I love the bathtub, and despite our short time here it strangely already feels like home. This has never happened before. I have served in plenty of ministry contexts and I have never felt this comfortable in a place this fast.
I’m not sure why that is but I am going to place it firmly in the hands of God’s Holy Spirit. I want to tell you a little story about my coming here.
Last February I was driving a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had been having more and more problems. In fact, I had just spent almost $900 to have it fixed. I didn’t even get it home before the check engine light came back on! When the call came from the DS to come to Portage, my first phone call was to the car rental place. I was concerned that my old car couldn’t make the four-hour trip! Further, I was convinced I couldn’t afford a new car.
A day later, through rather fortunate circumstances, I had a new car.
So I drive up to Portage for the top secret take-in meeting with the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and our Conference Superintendent Larry Whitehead asks: “Before we begin let’s tell Michael a little about life in the Region.” This is the very first thing they said was, “Well, in the Region, our cars are very important to us. Our church even has an annual car show.”
My heart literally leapt and God said in my Spirit, “See what I did there?” That’s when I knew this was of God, and this appointment was meant to be. As hard as it was leaving the beautiful, scenic, and spirit filled Tanner Valley UMC, I knew it was right. So thank you all for welcoming me home! You may not be leaping like Barley when I walk through the door but the warmth of your embrace is more than enough! Thank you for welcoming me home!
Happy August Birthday to…
01 Lauren Falk 09 Nikki Monahan 19 Joshua Hoover
01 John Shebel 10 Sue Miller 21 Keira Candiano
02 Branden Hamilton 10 Skyler Smith 22 Doug McKiddy
02 Veda Shadwell 10 Darius Pinarski 24 Judy Hedstrom
02 Paul Pollachek 10 Marilyn Thorn 25 Kate Blakely
03 Harley Parks 11 Virginia Sapp 28 Terry Nohr
03 Tara Keehn 13 Mary Jane Frahm 28 Scott Riley
03 Julia Graff 14 Katie Cunningham 28 Ryan Smith
05 Rob Liesch 15 Michael Candiano 30 Connie Ellefson
06 Jenny Brown 15 Lori Monahan 30 Matt Chelich
07 Chuck Phillips 16 Lois Finney 31 Benny Wright
08 Evelyn Kegley 17 Beth Wrigley
09 Shelli Kwiatkowski 18 Dorothy Peterson
Happy August Anniversary to…
02 Don & Mary Cooper 13 Scott & Kim Bilkey
04 Norm & Margi Hamstrom 14 Dean & Kathy Cunningham
05 Jeff & Sharon Kaiser 14 Steve & Lorri Davenport
07 Darren & Lisa Warne 17 Scott & Lil Falk
07 Bob & Leigh Romanov 21 Eddie & Jessica Karsten
09 Harley & Pam Parks 23 Chuck & Vicki Mason
10 Joe & Melissa Medina 25 Brian & Heather Burns
11 Chuck & Madelyn Lorenz 26 Grant & Lori Monahan
Have you checked out the church web site??
The address is: http://www.portageumc.org
Sundays @ 10:00am Sunday School
Wednesdays @ 11:30am Brown Bag Bible Study
Thursdays @ 6:00am Breakfast at Schoops
Remember your church in your will.
First Friday Fellowship will meet on Friday, August 3rd, at 5:00 p.m. at:
Martini's Steak & Seafood
1004 Calumet Avenue
R.S.V.P. to Sandra Robinson at 764-8433 no later than Friday noon August 3rd.
PLEASE NOTE: You must be 21 years old or older to attend this month.
Rev up your engines once again!
The 14th annual car show is scheduled for Saturday August 11th this year. We are looking for another great turn out!
We do have a lot of helpers this year, thank you Portage First! There are a few things still needed though. Prayers for wonderful weather of course, but seriously, we could use some small items to put in the participants bags, key chains, air fresheners, any small car related items you might think the car guys would like.
We can also use any door prizes that you can have donated or possibly purchase. The door prizes do not necessarily have to be car-related. Thank you all in advance for making the car show year after year a successful. also raising awareness of our church hospitality and love!! Not to mention. A few dollars to help such worthy causes. This year proceeds will go to help the Royal Family Kids Camp. Your generosity will help send a foster child who has been abused, neglected, go to Epworth forest in North Webster In. for a week of fun, and being shown the LOVE of Christ through many Christian servants. Proceeds from this year’s Car show will help for next year’s camp! May God bless!!
Join us for food, fun and fellowship August 17th at 6pm. Dinner that evening will be baked mostaccioli followed by “The Price is Right” hosted by Chris Adkins. We hope you’ll “come on down” and enjoy an evening full of fun!
During the month of August, we'll be collecting peanut butter and/or jelly for the Portage Township Food Pantry. The food pantry is incredibly grateful for your donations, and of course so are the people who receive this much needed food! As always, just place any donations you would like to make in the shopping cart in the Fellowship Hall. Many thanks for your continued generosity!
Also, don't forget to bring in any extra garden produce you might have. You can place it on the vegetable table in the Fellowship Hall. Need veggies? Feel free to help yourself to some of the home grown goodies there! When we have an abundance left at the end of the Sunday services, we'll take them to one of our local missions. Your gifts will keep on keep on giving!
Thanks so much for all you do,
The Missions and Outreach Committee
Endowment Committee Report
Portage First’s Endowment Committee is excited to announce that grants in the amount of $12,674 were awarded for 2018.
The 2018 recipients include:
• Need’s based membership scholarships for the Local Boy and Cub Scouts troop
• The Bell Choir to purchase a third octave of chimes
• Funds to replace existing signs and add additional signage throughout Portage
• Funding of a Community Movie Night to be held next spring/summer to support the backpack program
• Replacement of Media equipment for our worship services
• Donation to the Trustees to facilitate church improvements
The Goal of the Endowment Fund is to assist our church in fulfilling its purposes in Christian Ministry, Mission, and Outreach. Grant funding per our charter is intended for purposes that are not a part of the local Churches’ established programs, which are funded, or should be funded, through the annual operating budget of the church and the regular giving of those attending.
This fall we will place information on the connection center that will detail the 2019 grant process. We encourage everyone to start thinking of ways that our current ministries can be expanded.
"In an effort for better transparency, the Portage First UMC Finance Committee intends to provide more regular updates. If you have any questions about these numbers, I, or any other member of the Finance Committee, would be happy to answer them.
Finance Committee Chairman
June 2018 Year to Date 2018
Non Designated Giving $23,372.00 Non Designated Giving $150,318.72
Operating Expenses $24,429.92 Operating Expenses $148,892.69
Debt Reduction Giving $1,709.00 Budgeted Operating Expense $146,369.50
Debt Reduction Expense $2,157.10 Debt Reduction Giving $9,826.00
Debt Reduction Expense $11,559.33
Letter from Pastor Tara
Hello! July has been a wonderful month! This month we've welcomed Pastor Michael and I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the warm welcome they've given him. Thank you to all who have hosted Meet and Greets and attended them! I would also like to say thank you to all who helped stuff backpacks for Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC) and to our volunteers who spent their time at RFKC. Don't forget our car show this year will also benefit RFKC, so be sure to join us on August 11th for the car show!
Congregation Care Ministry Meeting
Monday August 20th, 7 pm. For all current Congregational Care Ministers, involved in hospital visitation, communion to shut ins, prayer/card ministry, grief follow-up, and follow-up for absentees. If you are interested in becoming part of Congregational Care Ministry, please email Pastor Tara at email@example.com or call her at 219-608-6150!
Box City and Family Promise update!
Save the date of August 25th-26th for the next Family Promise Box City! Box City is an annual event for homelessness awareness for students in junior and senior high school! Younger elementary students may participate as well if a parent spends the night with them on site. Applications and waivers for the event are available on the Connection Center, through Kate Blakely, or for you to print and download through the Facebook Event page on our church Facebook calendar "Event" page. We ask that all applications be turned in by August 10th, 2018.
Family Promise Update:
Family Promise is doing well but we still need some help for our next phase: developing a board. We are seeking people from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. People who have ever experienced homelessness first hand are extremely helpful. In addition, we seek people who may be clergy, finance, real estate, executives, social service, law, fundraising, government staff or government program experience, physical plant experience-architect, engineer, public relations. If you or someone you know may be interested, please contact Pastor Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-608-6150 for more information!
In order to open, we still need about $70k. There are many more grant opportunities once we have a board in place. We are also seeking corporate sponsors. If you or someone you know may be interested in sponsoring Family Promise, please contact Jill Hostetler at 317-450-7229.
What is Family Promise? Currently, there are homeless shelters for men. There are homeless shelters for women and children. There are currently no shelters in our area to preserve families as a unit. Family Promise is a nationwide program that utilizes a network of at least 13 churches to take turns housing a families a week at a time. Our farmhouse property will function as the "Day Center." For more information, check out familypromise.org
A big thank you to Joe Reynolds for refurbishing our cement bumpers in the parking lot and for patching the drain area near the west entrance. A thank you to Bill Miller, Aaron Massow & Paul Keaton for removing, repairing and reinstalling the dining room window at the parsonage. Also thanks to Ed Piontek for handling a plumbing issue and Ron Cutler for fixing the air conditioner at the parsonage. In the near future George Stewart will be giving our church marque a face lift with new signage. The trustees also want to schedule additional work on the parking lot by filling in the cracks, repaving & remarking the parking spaces, constructing a handrail for the north door entrance, patching the silver barn roof, purchasing a new 3 door stainless refrigerator for the kitchen and painting the sanctuary. As a reminder to our congregation, we have a form available that can be used to identify issues & concerns to be brought to the attention of the trustees. The form can be found in the "trustee" slot near the connection center.
Royal Family Kids Camp:
By the time you read this our week at Camp Epworth Forest will be over. 79 foster children treated "royally" by over 100 volunteers. Portage First plays a big part in this week of camp by providing a back pack for each child filled with a blanket, towel and wash cloth, tooth brush & toothpaste and shampoo, conditioner & body wash. We also provide on a limited basis combs, brushes, sheets and pillows. Many thanks to those who came out on Saturday, July 21, to help assemble the back packs. Also thanks to Cara Reeder, Glen Yerby, Steve Massow, Rich & Claudia Graham & Connie Ellefson for volunteering to work at the camp. And a great big thank you to our church family for the over the top generous donations of money & items to help fill the back packs. Our church has been very involved in this mission for over 20 years. There are brochures near the sanctuary doors if you want to know more about the camp.
Operation Christmas Child:
We are so happy to report that we have succeeded in meeting some hefty goals for this new mission ministry. Our goal is to fill at least 365 shoe boxes for distribution to children in need around the world and we have now collected enough of the basic 5 items needed for the boxes which include spiral notebooks, bars of soap & wash cloths, toothbrushes and pencils/pens. What a celebration already. Now for the fun part, stufing the boxes with items like toys, craft kits, socks and underwear, gently used shorts and tops, stuffed animals, hygiene products, etc. I warms my heart each week to see the items being donated in the Christmas container near the fellowship hall doors. Thank you one and all. Our "pack the shoe box" event will take place Saturday, September 22 at 10 a.m. More information on what you will be able to do on that date to help prepare the boxes will be forthcoming. Oh, by the way, I am still collecting amber and green colored pill containers as they are being recycled into crayon holders, marble holders, first aid kits, sewing kits, jewelry & bead kits and fishing kits. Connie Ellefson