Pastor Mark Dicken
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue I January 2017
FROM THE PASTOR
Another trip around the sun is done, the 181st year of our congregation’s ministry has begun. 2016 had its challenges, but it also had its celebrations:
• We marked our 180th anniversary as a chartered congregation with parties, programs and a special worship service with our District Superintendent, Rev. Larry Whitehead, as our guest preacher.
• We gave thanks for Pastor Deb Rousselle’s faithful and fruitful 10 years of service as our Associate Pastor when she accepted an appointment to Maple Grove UMC.
• We honored our Portage first responders on the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks with enough copies of the Strength for Service to God and Community devotional book for each police officer and firefighter in the Portage departments. No other church in Portage honored our first responders on that anniversary.
• Our Board of Trustees completed several capital projects that had been too long deferred at the parsonage and church building. Among them were replacing most of our HVAC units with more energy efficient equipment and our lights with LEDs, all of which should result in lower utilities bills.
• We began a 3 year process known as the Fruitful Congregations Journey with the goal of developing leaders and a vision for the future of our church.
• We began a series of conversations about changes we might make in the ways and times we worship and provide spiritual formation and Christian education for our children, youth and adults,
• Our Church Council adopted a 2017 spending budget that is 9% below our 2016 budget, hopefully realizing significant reductions in several areas, including staffing costs while adding 3 part-time staff members during the course of the year.
One challenge we did not meet, however, is our obligation as a United Methodist congregation to support the ministry, mission, administration and seminaries of the denomination beyond our own local church. We are asked to do this through a tithe (10%) of the undesignated giving we receive to the Indiana Conference and the General Church and an additional 1% to our own North District. Regrettably, we did not meet this obligation. We only gave 1% in 2016. We did not give our fair share, placing the burden on other churches in our district and annual conference to cover for us. We simply can and must do better in 2017.
Another challenge we faced was repaying our Endowment Fund each month for a loan taken out some years ago. I am pleased to advise you that our church leaders have committed to paying that debt as well as our mortgage debt to the Indiana United Methodist Loan Fund each month in 2017.
Those commitments by our leaders to be good stewards of God’s resources given back to the Lord through our church, however, cannot be met unless you and I give faithfully, generously and sacrificially through our church. While we deeply appreciate the generosity and sacrificial expressions of those of us who have returned written commitments for giving to God through our church in 2017.
Happy January Birthday to…
03 Jordan Kwiatkowski 14 Avaya Massow 28 Madison Wrigley
06 Jamieson Colby 15 Jeff Wrigley 28 Noah Wrigley
09 Randy Wilkening 22 Nicole Fagan 29 Elaine Lucas
11 Nora Brown 22 Victoria Pollacheck 30 Clara Harbart
11 Marilyn Martus 24 Bridget Nadolski 30 Dawn Harbart
12 Tyler Stein 25 Kathy Matthew 30 Jessica Poole
14 Dan McCoy 26 Sarah Nadolski 31 Randy Wilkening Jr.
Happy January Anniversary to…
02 Lon & Phyllis Price 19 Gregory & Shellie DePerio
16 Nick & Sue Andryuk 21 Bill & Sue Miller
16 Chuck & Patti Coppess 22 Rob & Kate Blakely
Have you checked out the church web site??
The address is: http://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.
1st Friday Fellowship will meet January 7th at 5:00 p.m. at Applebee’s, 6211 U.S. Hwy 6, in Portage. Please RSVP to Sandra Robinson, 764-8433.
Don't forget to pick up your Jan. /Feb. copy of the Upper Room.
Beautiful devotions by inspired Christians.
If you are unable to help on the date listed will you please contact one of the others on the schedule to arrange a change then call the office with the change. Thanks so much.
Jan. 1 Kate Blakely & Emma Davidhizar
Jan. 8 Kate Blakely & Ethan Keehn
Jan. 15 Kate Blakely & Simeon Bright
Jan. 22 Kate Blakely & Clara Harbart
Jan. 29 Kate Blakely & Rob Blakely
*We are in need of more volunteers to assist with Children’s Church during 3rd service. It doesn’t take a lot of time or preparation to assist and you could decide how often you want to help. Please consider helping bless the children of our congregation and teach them the fundamentals of our faith. For more information contact Kate Blakely at 574-621-0070 or email@example.com
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Happy New Year
9:30 am January 6th
Have you been to China? Paul Keaton has
and he will share is experience with us
as our first speaker of 2017!
Join us for a morning of fellowship
and breakfast snacks.
Child care will be provided, if needed
Please call the church office by January 4th
Our Finance Committee and other church leaders will continue to faithfully and carefully monitor and manage our resources each month, but their task will be made much easier if each of our households return
completed commitment cards expressing our intention to support our General Ministry and Mission Fund and our Debt Reduction Fund in the coming year and then keeping those commitments through our regular, faithful, generous and sacrificial giving.
If you have not yet returned your commitment cards, will you please do so now? If you are able to set up automatic giving through your bank’s online payment system or through PushPay, please do so. This helps us give back to God through our church regularly whether the weather keeps us from coming to worship or we are on vacation or not feeling well. If you set up an automatic giving practice, we will remove you from our monthly offering envelope mailing system, which will save our church even a little more. If you need further information on how to do this, please feel free to contact me.
I pray you are as excited about seeing what God does in and through us in 2017 as I am.
See you in church!
In Christ and in hope,
WORSHIP THEMES FOR JANUARY
January 1 New Year’s Day Pastor Mark
Covenant Renewal & Communion
WHY DID I PRAY THE WHOLE THING?
Our worship services will include a celebration of Tara Keehn’s licensure
and appointment as a Part-Time Local Pastor and our Associate Pastor.
January 8 Remembering Your Baptism Pastor Tara
Some folks live a life marked with regret, looking back and wondering “if only.” Others live a life that looks forward with confidence, living with the assurance that God’s promises are real and saying “what if?” This message series will help all of us understand and experience that the Lord can transform any “if onlys” into godly “what ifs.”
January 15 IF ONLY Pastor Mark
January 22 AS IF Pastor Mark
January 29 WHAT IF Pastor Mark
2017 Budget Overview*
Trustees Budget $58,554 19% anticipated decrease from 2016
Staffing Support Budget $227,581 5% anticipated decrease from 20161
Education Budget $5,725 no change anticipated from 2016
Office Expense Budget $5,730 8% anticipated increase from 2016
Worship Expense Budget $1,705 54% anticipated increase from 2016
Missions & Outreach Budget $4,620 23% anticipated decrease from 20162
District & Annual Conference $36,500 no change anticipated from 20163
Nurture & Membership Care $2,000 41% anticipated decrease from 2016
Miscellaneous $2,250 2% anticipated decrease from 2016
Debt Reduction Budget $24,943 no change anticipated from 20161
1No compensation increases are budgeted for any staff members.
2The bulk of our Missions giving comes from special appeals, fundraisers and other designated giving. In addition, we currently have excess funds held in an internal reserve account designated for missions. Pastor Tara is reviving our Missions Committee and will be working to quickly get these funds out of our bank account and into the mission fields.
3The amount we are asked to give is 10% of undesignated receipts to the Indiana Conference and 1% to the North District. The amount our church gives is, therefore, dependent on the amount we give to our church.
4Our Debt Reduction Fund is funded through designated giving and is not subject to the tithe to the annual conference and the district. Our church leaders have adopted a policy and practice of seeking to reserve $5,000 in a set-aside internal account. If after monthly payments on our debts have been made and the amount in that account exceeds $5,000, the amount over the reserve is to be made as an additional payment against principal indebtedness with the Indiana United Methodist Loan Fund.
*If any professing member of the church wishes to have a copy of the line item budget, it is available on request from either the church office or the senior pastor.
A note from the Secretary
Hello Portage First, it’s been awhile….since I have written an article that is. I’ve had many inquiries as to why and the short answer is I just haven’t felt like there was anything for me to say. Some of you know and many or you don’t but my life took a dramatic turn in February of 2015. The wind was literally taken out of my sails with the realization that my marriage was coming to an end. My life seemed to be falling apart and it’s been an emotional and difficult journey since then.
I couldn’t write anymore, I had no words of inspiration for you as I once had. I didn’t have any desire to talk about my life and what would become of it and who was I to tell everyone to always believe, keep moving forward and love with all that you have when all I wanted was to give up and be angry. Instead I just took a break, I needed to regroup, rethink and recharge. I dove into myself, I prayed continuously, I surrounded myself with family and friends and I never lost faith that God would see me through this.
I have learned a lot about myself since all of this has happened. Not only that but I found myself again. It’s incredible how much of yourself you are willing to give up to hold on to something that isn’t meant to be. I truly believe that I have come out much stronger than I went in and believe it or not I am thankful for this journey.
You see sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we don’t understand and it’s difficult to take. We can’t see the forest for the trees. That was exactly my problem…I couldn’t see it, I didn’t want to hear it. I just thought I knew what was best and I prayed that God would make is so. But his plan was different, and he opened my eyes to what I was unwilling to see.
So why am I telling you all of this now? Well because I feel ready. I feel like myself again and looking back I am inspired. There were so many days that I wanted to throw in the towel, so many times I thought I couldn’t take one more thing, days I didn’t want to leave the house, but God was answering my prayers every day. I learned to trust in Him, that I couldn’t control everything; “let go and let God” became my mantra. I won’t tell you there were times when I still didn’t try to control situations…I have a hard time with that, but I found when I just gave in and said, “Lord please take this” and made myself stop worrying that things got better. I am telling you all this because I know we all struggle, we all fall down and sometimes we lose hope in the face of tragedy, but count on God. Cast your burdens and ask him for direction and then truly listen, he is telling you what to do, how to heal and move forward.
Another year has come and gone. What this New Year has to bring I pray will be full of wonderful moments for us all. I pray you find inspiration no matter what you may face. And remember whenever you feel lost ask God for directions and trust that he knows the way!
Happy New Year Portage First…make it an awesome one!
I would like to say thank you to all those that gave Christmas cards, gifts and well wishes for myself and family. I am truly blessed by you.
Community Dinner January 20th at 6pm
Remember the days of pony tails, poodle skirts, duck tail haircuts and hot rods? We're reviving those days with the 50's community dinner and sock hop! Bring yourself and invite your friends for some 50's style fun! If you are interested in assisting with the dinner, please contact Annette McCarty 219-617-1046.
Thank you to all of the volunteers and to those of you who donated blood! Our December blood drive results were 57 presenting donors, 61 total units of blood given!
Good Sense Movement
Freed-Up Financial Living is coming to our church in February! It is a course designed for anyone, regardless of their financial situation.
This resource pairs sound financial knowledge with biblical principles of money management, guiding participants to develop a personal spending plan that reflects both in a healthy, balanced way. They explore what the Bible and the culture say about the five financial areas of life (earning, giving, saving, debt and spending).
Children & Youth
Mission Possible Kids & Youth Group
Jan. 8 12:30-2
Jan. 22 12:30-2
In the Fellowship Hall
Mark your calendars…Confirmation is coming!
Confirmation classes for our youth will begin in February. There's a large class this year as there wasn't enough kids to do it last year. We'll be looking for mentors for each of the students so please prayerfully consider being a mentor. For more information or to express interest please contact Deb Massow at 219-742-4905 or Lisa Graff at 219-916-4258. If your child is in 7th or 8th grade this year please encourage them to attend.
Save the Date!
The annual Spaghetti Dinner will be Saturday February 18.
Stayed tuned for more information to come
2017 Red Bird Mission Trip
Mark your Calendar!
September 10th – 16th
We are now in the planning stage to return to Red Bird this year. We have reserved the week of September 10th-16th. The cost is $375 per person. Once again there will be fundraisers planned to help lower the cost. All information to come at the April 10th meeting. Anyone interested in going is asked to Contact Chris Adkins at 763-1301.
A new 2017 Church directory will be coming out very soon. I need any changes to address, phone number, email or family members you have a.s.a.p. We have been waiting on a new copy machine and with Advent it was delayed. This is not to be confused with a pictorial directory. You can submit changes via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office. Thank you.
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.
We have a giving link through Pushpay on our new website www.portageumc.org and we are working to fine-tune a custom app. The app will have many potential uses for information and communication. We might even be able to put the worship bulletins on there and save some trees.
More information will be available soon, but for now why not try Pushpay once?