FROM THE PASTOR
Remember, Remember, the 5th of November
Don’t you just love November? Turkey, apple cider, family gatherings, pumpkin pies, football, and of course fireworks! No, I am not referring to fights around the Thanksgiving table! I’m referring of course to the custom of fireworks on the fifth of November! Don’t you celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? Alright, I don’t celebrate it either but perhaps a little background would be helpful.
Guy Fawkes was a Roman Catholic revolutionary in England in the 1600’s. He and his conspirators wanted to overthrow the protestant King James I and restore England to the its Catholic Roots. In order to accomplish this feat, he sought to hide casks of gunpowder under the houses of parliament rigging an explosion destroying the House of Lords. This scheme was named the Gunpowder Plot. However, some of the conspirators sent a secret letter to the catholic persons in parliament warning them to stay away from parliament that day. This letter was shared with King James and upon inspection the casks were discovered, removed and the conspirators were arrested.
Thus, to this day the people of the United Kingdom celebrate the fifth of November as a moment when God saved the King from treasonous plots. They light bonfires, fireworks, burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, and even coined a nursery rhyme:
The Fifth of November,
'Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
I let off my gun,
And made'em all run.
And Stole all their Bonfire away.
What’s interesting is that this holiday is one of the largest most celebrated holidays in the United Kingdom. However, many of us hadn’t heard of it before. This holiday, so essential to the identity of the British people is rarely understood elsewhere. I think that this is good for us to remember. As we gather with our families for Thanksgiving Feasts we need to be reminded that there is a world outside ourselves. All over the world there are people with traditions, histories, and cultures all their own. It is only by paying attention to cultures and values of these other people and places that hospitality becomes possible.
One of the things we must value about Christianity is that we believe the truth of Christ is universal. That Jesus invites every person from every culture. This diversity in Christ’s kingdom is supposed to be celebrated but sadly we often neglect even an elementary understanding of the cultures around us. If Jesus is truly for everyone then we as Christian people should have a deep interest in who that everyone is and what they are about.
We must remember that the various cultures all over the world were part of God’s intentional design. In the Book of Revelation, we see that some part of culture endures even after the return Jesus. In heaven John sees a vision of every nation, tongue, tribe, and kindred gathered around God’s throne. John can clearly see that the assembled saints are made up of every nation all over the world. We really do need to remember that heaven is an everyone, everywhere proposition. It is simply inappropriate to operate as if the Gospel were just for whomever our tribe happens to be.
Further, this means that we have a vested interest in understanding our global community.
Therefore, in this season of thankfulness and hospitality, when we gather around feast heavy tables, let us consider these words from the United Methodist Hymnal #437:
This is my Song
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace, for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine,
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine,
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms:
Thy Kingdom come; on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
And hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, though God of all the nations;
Myself I give thee; let thy will be done.
Stop by the Connection Center and pick up an Upper Room daily devotional. It’s a great way to start your day.
Happy November Birthday to…
03 Jim Nickerson 14 Ethan Keehn 23 Janice Stewart
04 David Alvarado 15 Don Cooper 24 Phyllis Price
05 Jilene Dixon 17 Madolyn Sullivan 25 Barb Piazza
06 Robert Metz 19 Joe Medina 25 Kortni Centracchio
06 Kathy Cunningham 19 George Stewart 26 Norm Hamstrom
06 Robin Wilkening 19 Denisa Riley 27 Karin Manteuffel
07 Wanda Samuelson 20 Bill Kramer 27 Susie Ritchey
09 Greg Keehn 20 Cathy Koller 29 John Cardona
10 Glenn Yerby 22 Betty Kerns
13 Marcia Guth 22 Tom Ellefson
Happy November Anniversary to…
02 Mike & Cathy Koller 21 Frank & Julie Ford
03 David & Annie Alvarado 22 Dennis & Jamie Whitfield
Have you checked out the church web site??
The address is: http://www.portageumc.org
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Sundays @ 10:00am Sunday School
Wednesdays @ 11:30am Brown Bag Bible Study
Thursdays @ 6:00am Breakfast at Schoop’s
Remember your church in your will.
Deck the Halls....and Sanctuary...and Fellowship Hall...and...
Advent Season is upon us
Come on out and enjoy food, fellowship and fun. Help kick off the Advent Season at Portage First United Methodist Church. “Hanging of the Greens” will be Monday, November 26th starting at 5:00pm at the church with pizza and drinks. After dinner, we will transform our church for the Christmas season. Don’t worry, no matter your age or physical ability; well find a part for you to do! So, bring yourself and loved ones to church to catch the spirit of the Yuletide season. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
First Friday Fellowship
We will meet November 3rd at 5pm at The Marquette Yacht Club (fish fry), 1218 Crisman Rd. Portage, IN. R.S.V.P to Sandra Robinson at 764-8433.
Directions: Take Crimsan Rd. north just past the Ameriplex. On the left side of the road you will see a sign that says “Portage Public Marina” with an arrow pointing in the direction of the Izaak Walton Building. Turn at the Portage Public Mariana sign and make an immediate left at the Marquette Yacht Club sign.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Friday November 2 @ 9:30 am
Please join us for fellowship, conversation, breakfast snacks
and our speaker from Housing Opportunities, in Valparaiso.
ALL women of ALL ages are welcome!
Hope you will join us!!
Youth Group (grades 6-12) and MPK: Mission Portage Kids (grades K-5) will meet on Sunday November 4th from 12:30-2 to prepare for this year's Veteran's Day luncheon.
Mission Possible Kids invites all veterans and their families to join us on Sunday November 11 at 1:00 pm for our annual Veteran's Day Dinner. Signups will be available at the connection center, sign up today to reserve your spot. If you have any questions contact Tina Colby at 219-378-8680. We hope to see you there!
Note From Pastor Tara
Hello! October (for me) begins official Pumpkin Spice season despite all of the people who started in September. It just seems wrong to drink Pumpkin Spice anything when it's 90 degrees out. To each their own...
What I'm up to:
Focusing on Congregational Care, visitation, phone calls, and follow-up.
I have started attending a local Portage Pastor's prayer meeting on Thursday mornings. It is an inter-denominational meeting of pastors from (you guessed it!) Portage to network and pray for our community.
Our church will be hosting a Lake Effect Cluster meeting on Monday, October 15th from 6:30-7:45. This is for the Pastors from our "Cluster" and Lay Leaders to attend to get to know each other. Our cluster has been inactive for some time, but Cathy Allison from Westville has taken over and the hope is that in the future we may partner within our cluster for ministry.
I will be going to Indianapolis the 12-13th of October for Course of Study.
Family Promise update:
I'm happy to announce that Amanda Jennings has volunteered to take over as our representative to Family Promise. Thank you Amanda!
Congregational Care Ministry:
This month we will be meeting on Monday, October 29th from 7-8.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make the rummage sale possible last month. It is greatly appreciated!
Thank you also to all of the volunteers for the Community Meal and Picnic.
I am going to start going through past interest surveys as well as creating new interest surveys. These will contain interests in things such as help with mowing or raking yards for those who have had surgery etc. who may not be able to do so for a short period of time. It will also look at gifts. I will be contacting people individually to explore gifts, passions, and abilities to help us help each other and act as the hands and feet of Christ.
Thank you and God bless!
Trustee's corner: We are happy to announce the arrival of a brand new 3 door stainless steel refrigerator for the kitchen. We are so very grateful for the financial assistance received from the endowment committee, a special designated fund and the United Methodist Women. Take a moment to check it out. This unit is one of several upgrades being targeted for the kitchen. The next appliance on our wish list is a double oven unit. Cost is approximately $6,000.00 and we have been blessed with our first anonymous donation of $2,000.00. So, it might be awhile before enough funds are raised but it is exciting just to know that we are well on our way to possibly acquiring this appliance next year. In the meantime, kitchen flooring options are being explored and in the next couple of months we will be installing new flooring and baseboards. The funding for this project will be coming from a previous donation made by the United Methodist women and private donations collected over the past two years. On behalf of the trustees we want to extend a great big thank you to those who donated so much of their time, talents and energies in keeping Portage First properties looking their best. It truly takes a village to maintain the properties entrusted to our congregation. With that being said, the trustees are asking for your help by picking up, wiping up and straightening up when you see an opportunity to do so. Your proactive actions can help curtail small issues becoming big problems. There is also a fix, replace or repair form available in the trustee’s box near the connection center. Your ideas and/or suggestions are important to us. Happy Thanksgiving.
Operation Christmas Child:
Our first attempt to stuff Christmas shoe boxes for children ages 2 to 14 was a huge success. The final count of completed stuffed boxes came in at exactly 365 boxes with over 40 people participating. That is incredible. Thank you to everyone for participating in this mission opportunity. Just think what the children will say and feel when they open their "once in a lifetime" stuffed box from Portage, Indiana. The boxes will be shipped out the first week of December to be part of one or more of the 100 different countries selected for this year. So, job well done Portage First. The good news is the mission committee has approved supporting this international mission project for 2019. So, after the new year, you will see a basket in the narthex that will be ready to receive your items. A list will be posted to give you some ideas. We will also continue collecting pill bottles and large size shoe boxes and boot boxes. FYI-your pill bottles were transformed into first aid kits, fishing kits, sewing kits, jewelry making kits and marbles and crayon holders. Thank you in advance for keeping these needy children of the world on your mind this coming year. We can offer the message of Jesus, give them hope and supply a "wow" moment in their life. One Child, One Box, One Soul.
First Friday Fellowship
Join us at 5pm on Friday, November 2nd at the Porter VFW 1290 Wagner Rd. Porter, IN for food and great fellowship. Please r.s.v.p. to Sandra Robinson, 764-8433 no later than Thursday, 11/1/2018. Hope to see you there!
Portage First United Methodist Church Finance Update
September 2018 Year to Date 2018
Non Designated Giving $31,516.75 Non Designated Giving $237,959.31
Operating Expenses $22,054.93 Operating Expenses $215,836.01
Debt Reduction Giving $2,887.00 Net Current $22,123.30
Debt Reduction Expense $2,080.92
Debt Reduction Giving $17,006.00
Apportionment Paid $3,501.42 Debt Reduction Expense $17,802.09
Net Debt Reduction ($796.09)
Outstanding Church Debt
Parking Lot Loan $131,970.29 Overall Net Current & Debt $21,327.21
Endowment Loan $98,392.99
Total Debt $230,363.28 Apportionment Paid $22,776.71
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.
A Poem by: Bud Gray
The harvest moon is full and bright...shining through the haze...
reflecting on frosty pumpkins between fields of golden maize.
The shadows of geese in flight flicker over "jelly rolls" of hay,
while dancing ghosts of ages past stir thoughts of happy days.
The trees are draped with color as the flowers fade away.
Beauty replaces beauty in nature's autumn display.
The toil of harvest is over. Fields and orchards are now bare.
There's a special day for thanksgiving...to gather and to share.
It's a day of celebration that's always best at home.
What joy to be with friends and family and not spend this day alone.
The smell of Mom's home cooking wafts across the years
and loving thoughts turn homeward as Thanksgiving Day draws near.
Home is where the heart is, it can be most anywhere.
The door is always open to a treasure of loving care.
We gather 'round your table, Lord, and bow our heads to pray.
We thank You for life's blessings which You give to us each day.
Of all Thy bounties and heavenly grace, there's one that stands apart.
It's the love we have for others..."a harvest of the heart".