First United Methodist Church
Pastor Mark Dicken
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue VIIII September 2016
FROM THE PASTOR
The text message from my wife Wednesday evening told me our daughter had found shelter from the tornado that struck Kokomo. I did not know she was travelling through that area, but was thankful she was safe and grateful to the business that let her in to seek shelter. Not everyone in Kokomo was as fortunate.
The morning’s news had reported the earthquake that had devastated towns in Italy while most of the people there were sleeping.
The recent flooding in nearby South Bend has barely shown up on our local media. There has been a lot of reporting on the flooding in Louisiana.
All of this brought back some memories and emotions from November 2005 when a tornado struck Newburgh, Indiana in the wee hours, killing over 20 people and destroying the homes of several members of the church to which I was appointed. I remember the quick response of the members of that church as we became a shelter, a feeding site and a place where volunteers assembled to help with the relief and recovery. People of other United Methodist churches came to our aid. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) was very responsive and helpful.
I am proud of the many ways we United Methodists and UMCOR respond to disasters in our communities and around the world. I hope you are too.
On Sunday, August 21, I invited us to respond with a hands-on mission project of assembling Cleaning Buckets for UMCOR. A recent online check revealed that over 2,500 of these buckets of cleaning materials have already been distributed in Louisiana and we know they will need a lot more, as will the people in South Bend and Kokomo. We have the instructions for assembling Cleaning Buckets available at the Welcome Center or you can find it online at http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Cleaning
Another way we can participate in the effort is by contributing funds that will be sent to UMCOR and we can be assured that 100% of our gifts will get into the mission field. You may contribute through your offering envelope by noting the special gift “UMCOR Disaster Relief” or by making a similar notation on your gift through PushPay or you may give to UMCOR directly for national disaster relief, international disaster relief or to purchase disaster relief materials online at http://www.umcor.org/Search-for-Projects/Search-for-Projects.
These events also point out the potential need for our congregation to develop our own Emergency Response Team (ERT). The mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster. The team is neither a first response group of emergency workers nor a recovery, rebuild or repair team. Rather, it fills a specific need in the early days after a disaster to establish the presence of the church. Our Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team will provide the required training. If you would be willing to take this training and lead or serve on our PFUMC ERT, please let me know. If we have enough persons willing to train and serve, we will make arrangements for the training.
We’ll stay tuned for calls for volunteers to physically help with the recovery efforts.
Please continue to keep the people in Italy, South Bend, Louisiana and Kokomo in your prayers.
See you in church!
In Christ and in hope,
Happy September Birthday to…
01 Debbie Shebesh 11 Pat Jackson 22 Patti Cook
03 Henry Brown 11 John Peterson 23 Shirley Ortiz
04 Helen Golding 12 James Smith 23 Nathan Welch
04 Jake Liesch 12 Vicky Wright 24 Amanda Liesch
05 Simeon Colby 13 Art Kurth 24 Ed Piontek
05 Martha Yerby 15 Bob Dixon 25 Gloria Nystrom
06 Janet Sharpe 15 Kim Adkins 26 Sherry Joyce
06 Shelly Kelley 16 Mike King 27 James Jordan
09 Ross Falk 17 Myra Dixon 27 Bill Robinson
10 Julie Dearing 17 Sidney Miller 27 Leah Burns
10 Bev Reeder 21 Chuck Coppess 29 Bud Gray
10 Matthew Bilkey 21 Tatiana Colby 29 Mary Linoski
Happy September Anniversary to…
01 Mark & Barb Dicken 17 Ed & Laura Piontek
06 Mike & Kathy Matthew 20 John & Danah Peterson
12 Bill & Lynn Liesch 21 Jason & Erica Bush
15 James & Betty Smith 26 Ryan & Amy Kegely
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.
Parents of College Students:
There are people who would like to keep in touch with and encourage your “college kids” throughout the school year… those both at home and away at school. Please turn their school address into the church office a.s.a.p. so we can show them that they are in our hearts and prayers during the school year.
A Big Thank You!
We would like to thank each one of you for your kindness, prayers and gifts. Thank you to Pastor Deb, the Prayer Team, all church members for prayers, cards, phone calls and support to our family on the passing of Dwayne. Also thank you to everyone that helped set-up, donated food, worked so hard in the kitchen and cleaned up for the funeral luncheon.
Sincerely, The Betty Evensen Family
A big THANK YOU goes out to each of you who attended and helped with the Car show again this year. It was a big success! (Plus it was a bunch of fun.)
After expenses, we were able to give 1,360.00 to help send some Royal Family Kids to camp!
From the kitchen, with concessions, watermelon eating contest, hula hoop contests, to the duck pond, the Wolfgang singers, SONday GLOry and everything in between, it was an amazing day!!
God is good! I saw a sign on a car that said, "The car is nice, but my real treasure is in heaven." Love that! And so true! Thank you Jesus for a perfect day filled with your awesome weather and great Joy!!
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
9:30 am Friday, September 2
Summer vacation is over and this is our first meeting of the Fall!
Women of ALL ages are encouraged to join us for fellowship,
breakfast snacks and an informational speaker!
Our speaker for this month is Danielle Webb from
First Light Home Care.
Come and hear who they are and what services they can provide.
Child Care is provided, if needed - please call the church office
by Wednesday, August 31.
Hope to see you there!
The United Methodist Women are sponsoring a holiday craft show Saturday, October 29th, from 9am-2pm and are looking for crafters and vendors to participate. The cost is $35 per 8’ table with 2 chairs ($25 for church members). Please contact Sandra Robinson at 764-8433 or Fran Berry at 763-7149 for an application form.
First Friday Fellowship will meet Friday, September 2nd, at 5:00pm at the Miller Beach Café’, 903 N. Shelby St. in Miller. Please R.S.V.P. to Sandra Robinson, 764-8433.
INVEST AND ENVISION
Would you like to help our church develop a new vision for our ministry and mission and a plan to make that vision a reality.
In John 15:8, Jesus says, “My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.”
Our church will be participating in the Fruitful Congregations Journey, a team-based, leadership development discovery process to help churches more effectively fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Fruitful Congregation Journey consists of the following three steps:
1. Shared Learning Experience
2. Consultation Process
3. Ministry Action Plan
The first step, the Shared Learning Experience, will be seven months long, involving a once a month Saturday morning group training and learning time known as Lay Leadership Development and reading selected books. Our pastors will have their separate Pastoral Leadership Development sessions. In addition, our lay participants and our pastors will meet together once a month to share what they learned in the separate sessions.
These sessions will be held here at Portage First from 9 AM to 1PM, so you will not need to travel any further than you do to come to worship, on the following dates:
September 10, 2016
October 15, 2016
November 12, 2016
January 14, 2017
February 11, 2017
March 11, 2017
April 8, 2016 (May 6 make-up)
We will be joined by members of Hammond First UMC and Knox UMC.
We have a good group of committed Christ-followers who will be participating from our church, but there is always room for more who are committed to leading our church to be as fruitful as we can be for the cause of Christ in our community and beyond.
If you would like to participate in what may well prove to be a transformational experience for our church and for yourself, please let Pastor Mark know as soon as possible as we will need to order books for our participants.
SAME BOOK, SAME PAGE READINGS FOR SEPTEMBER
We are challenging ourselves to read through the Bible in 2016. The page numbers for the following daily readings are from the paperback New Living Translation Bibles available at no cost to the readers.
September 1 Ezekiel 18-19 pp 499-500
September 2 Ezekiel 20-21 pp 500-502
September 3 Ezekiel 22-23 pp 502-504
September 4 Ezekiel 24-27 pp 504-507
September 5 Ezekiel 28-31 pp 507-509
September 6 Ezekiel 32-34 pp 509-512
September 7 Ezekiel 35-37 pp 512-514
September 8 Ezekiel 38-39 pp 514-515
September 9 Ezekiel 40-41 pp 515-517
September 10 Ezekiel 42-43 pp 517-518
September 11 Ezekiel 44-45 pp 518-519
September 12 Ezekiel 46-48 pp 519-521
September 13 Joel 1-3 pp 539-541
September 14 Daniel 1-3 pp 522-524
September 15 Daniel 4-6 pp 524-527
September 16 Daniel 7-9 pp 527-529
September 17 Daniel 10-12 pp 529-531
September 18 Ezra 1-3 pp 282-284
September 19 Ezra 4-6, Psalm 137 pp 284-285,372
September 20 Haggai 1-2 pp 565-566
September 21 Zechariah 1-7 pp 567-569
September 22 Zechariah 8-14 pp 569-572
September 23 Esther 1-5 pp 299-301
September 24 Esther 6-10 pp 301-303
September 25 Ezra 7-10 pp 285-288
September 26 Nehemiah 1-5 pp 289-291
September 27 Nehemiah 6-7 pp 292-293
September 28 Nehemiah 8-10 pp 293-296
September 29 Nehemiah 11-13, Psalm 126 pp 296-298, 369-370
September 30 Malachi 1-4 pp 573-574
Join the Choir
It’s that time again! Choir & Hand bells will be having their kick
off potluck. Come join us for food and fellowship. Learn about
our plans for the upcoming year. You do not need to be a
current member of the choir to attend. Please come see what
we’re about! Thursday, September 8th at 6pm. There will be a
short choir practice after dinner. Any questions;
call Heather Schulz at 617-2783.
WORSHIP THEMES FOR SEPTEMBER
September 4 Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
But Here We Differ: World Religions
September 11 But Here We Differ: World Religions
On this anniversary of the tragedies of 9-11, we will have a special Celebration of First Responders at our 10:00 AM service and present copies of Strength for Service to God and Community to the Portage Police and Fire Departments
September 18 Half Truths Christians Too Often Say Pastor Mark
LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN
1 John 3:14-19
This series will address platitudes that Christians often think holy, but…
September 25 Half Truths Christians Too Often Say Pastor Mark GOD WON’T GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE
1 Corinthians 10:11-14
After our worship services, we will have the opportunity to put our faith in action on Faith In Action Sunday, serving and helping in different ways in our community.
Would you like to know more about the Bible but don’t want to be embarrassed by what you don’t know?
SUNDAY, SEPT. 11
This will be a place where you can relax and learn.
It’s that time of year again! You guessed it…..RUMMAGE SALE!
• Thursday, September 29th (9a-7p)
• Friday, September 30th (9a-3p “Fill a Bag Day”)
• Sunday, September 25th – Table setup, bring in all the goodies
• Monday, September 26th – Open/empty all the goody boxes
• Tuesday, September 27th – Pricing, tweaking
• Wednesday, September 28th – Bring LARGE goodies from barn, pricing, TWEAK! TWEAK! TWEAK!
We can use as much help as possible! Helpers that donate 8 (combined) hours of time M-F will receive a FREE dinner during sale hours. YUM! M-F are also helper preview days! That’s right! If you want first pick, come lend a hand emptying boxes, sorting, and having an all-around good time! And as always, there will be food!
There are other jobs available if the “rummage” part isn’t your thing! Sign-up sheets will be at the Welcome Center for a variety of ways to help. We will especially need “homemade” desserts to accompany the dinners AND for the bake sale.
All proceeds go out to several missions. Donations are ALWAYS welcome and can be dropped off at the back of the church. ☺ Let’s make this the best sale ever and show what we can do!
God calls every one of us to proclaim the presence and power of Him through all that we say and do. How is God calling you to serve? With so many avenues of training, Lay Servant Ministries offers you a valuable education in multiple ministry areas.
A Lay Servant Is:
• An active, supportive professing member of a United Methodist Church.
• Eager to serve the church, the community and the world.
• Well-informed on scripture and the doctrine, heritage, organization, and life of the United Methodist Church.
• Committed to witnessing through church and community leadership, care-giving ministries, and spoken communication.
• Willing to improve his or her skills by training for service.
Join us at Walnut Creek UMC every Saturday from September 10th through October 8th.
The Walnut Creek UMC is located at 2033 S. 150 W. Warsaw IN 46580. Classes begin at 9:00am and end at 12:15pm EST. A registration fee of $15 is due by the first class.
Classes offered during this session include:
• Basic Course – This course is required for first time attendees. Participants are encouraged to discover and employ personal spiritual gifts as God intended and to consider the importance of exercising servant leadership. ISBN # 978-0-88177-626-3 $11 “Lay Servant Ministries”
• Beginning Preaching – Beginning course for those who want to learn to put sermons together and fill the pulpit when asked. Requires completion of the Basic Course. Space is limited to 6 participants. ISBN # 978-0-88177-384-2 $14 “Go Preach”.
• Advanced Preaching - This course digs deeper into the skills learned in Beginning Preaching. Requires completion of Beginning Preaching. Space is limited to 6 participants. The book is same as Preaching I.
• Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts – This course helps participants identify their spiritual gifts and understand how to use them for the service of Christ. Requires completion of the Basic Course.
• ISBN # 978-0-88177-375-0 $14 “Each One A Minister”
• Leading Bible Study – This is a new course for Lay Servants who have not had professional training in biblical interpretation. It reminds us that Bible study is a core part of our spiritual journey. Requires completion of the Basic Course. ISBN # 978-0-68701-608-2 $18.75 “Biblical Interpretation: A Roadmap”
• Holy Club Reclaimed – This course gives students an overview of the structure and organization of the United Methodist Church. Requires completion of the Basic Course. This class is on the list of classes needed for Lay Speaker. ISBN # 978-1-42676-717-3 $23 “The Method of Our Mission”.
Please contact Denise Parker with any registration or schedule questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (574) 361-7243. NOTE: Students are required to purchase their own materials prior to class. Materials are available through Cokesbury.com and other online retailers. If you are unable to do so, please contact Denise Parker.
*(Please contact the church office for registration forms)*
Thank you for being life savers to so many through your donation of blood at the most recent Red Cross blood drive. 45 units of blood were donated with the potential to save 135 lives!
A shout out to our loyal volunteers who offer hospitality – and food for each blood drive.
Did you realize that September is National Chicken Month? Neither did I but I found out while searching for ideas for our September Community Meal. If you haven’t attended why not give it a try on Friday, Sept. 16 here at the church. We begin with a meal – which is sure to include chicken this month and follow-up with a fun activity, quite possibly Family Feud without the need to be blood family.
This is guaranteed to be the most inexpensive Friday night you will find since there is no set cost – give if you can, whatever you can. We have been doing this since January and have covered the expenses each month through the love offering.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 16
Meal served 6:00-6:45
Invite friends, family and neighbors. We are inviting persons from Bonner Center, Food Pantry and through the Trustee’s office!
A NOTE FROM PASTOR DEB
Have you had the ho-hums this summer? Something missing? Busy, busy without much satisfaction (ok, I can’t type that word without Mick Jagger’s voice in my head)
September is bringing us many opportunities to experience the satisfaction of being a servant – serving others to the glory of God.
That word servant may not sound exciting to you, maybe conjuring up images of Alfred, from the Batman series, or Hazel, in her apron and head piece from the old TV series. In reality, being a servant is what Jesus taught us to be and calls us to be.
In John 13:14-16, after Jesus has washed his disciple’s feet he says “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
September 24th is an opportunity to be blessed as we take part in Faith in Action day. (Read previous article for details)
As the song says, “I can’t get noooo – satisfaction” ohh no I mean this song:
Make me a servant, humble and meek
Lord let me lift up, those who are weak.
And may the prayer of my heart always be:
Make me a servant. Make me a servant. Make me a servant today.
You are blessed to be a blessing.
Stomp out hunger!!
Each September Portage First puts a crimp in the hunger of our community by providing enough supplemental food to supply the Township Food Pantry for several weeks. For those who are not familiar let me explain how we do that.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, you will be given several grocery sacks along with an explanation of the project. You are asked to offer your friends and neighbors an opportunity to support the food pantry by filling a bag with non-perishable food items.
On Sunday, Sept. 25 you bring them back to church to be sorted and delivered to the food pantry as one of our FAITH IN ACTION projects. You may be surprised in how responsive your neighbors will be. Most people want to help but don’t realize how to do so. See it as an opportunity to allow them to share in the joy that comes from giving.
FAITH IN ACTION is sept. 25th
This is a Sunday when each service is shortened so as to provide time to take part in hands-on service projects. So far we have the following projects planned. If you have another in mind, please share your idea with Pastor Deb.
• Sorting and delivering food to the food pantry
• Helping with rummage sale set-up. DYK (do you know) that proceeds from this sale used to support missions throughout our community and some globally. When you help with the rummage sale you are supporting such organizations as the food pantry, First Contact, Destiny’s Rescue, camp scholarships and so much more.
• Making of dog toys for the local shelters
• Making of cloth grocery sacks which will be sold at the Craft Fair to raise funds for Feed My Lambs (weekend backpack program)
• Letters and drawings for those in the military
• Providing music for those at local long-term health care facilities
You will want to take part in this Sunday! Being the hands and feet of Christ is a wonderful way to put our faith into action.
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the Upper Room, it’s a wonderful way to start your day! Located at the Welcome Center.
5 k run
2mi. non-competitive walk
½ MILE KIDS RUN (FREE)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
CHECK IN BEGINS AT 7AM
KIDS RUN BEGINS 7:45AM
COST – with shirt $22, without shirt $16, day of race $25
Register at the link below or see one of our race crew after service on Sundays.
Proceeds support Heifer International who helps those in poverty reach a self-sustaining life. To learn more google Heifer International
BackPack to School – a fundraiser supporting the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana’s Portage BackPack Program (AKA- Feed My Lambs)
Wednesday, September 28
6-9pm at Woodland Park/Sycamore Room
Tickets $25 in advance $30 at the door $200 table of 8
Dinner by the bite
United Methodist Men News
Calling all men!
The United Methodist Men’s group is regrouping from their summer break and will be having their first breakfast meeting Saturday-09/10/16 at 8:00AM in the church fellowship hall. It is our hope and goal to get more men from our church to become involved with these once a month meetings. Our church has 70+ men who are member and/or attend church with some regularity. As men we are called to be the spiritual leaders of our families, and truthfully we fall way short of this when we do not include church and the fellowship of other believers in our weekly activities. John Wesley, the founder of our Methodist faith, had much to say about this – mainly the importance of committing our lives every day to the Lord and His promises for our lives. We as men need to be more engaged with our faith and our families so that we and others might come to know the saving grace and promises of our Lord.
Men of the church – I challenge you and encourage you to make a greater commitment in your faith and your walk with the Lord. The blessings and rewards are tremendous for being involved and more committed in your spiritual walk. You cannot begin to realize this until you make this commitment.
We have (9) monthly meetings (usually the first Saturday of each month). We take a break for the summer so that we might be able to spend more time with our families and summer time commitments. Our meetings begin at 8:00 AM and always include breakfast to start out with. We eat fairly good feeding the body prior to feeding the soul. Then we have a short business meeting - sharing activities and commitments that we the UMM are planning to do, which includes for our group, our church, and outside our church. We conclude our meeting with a bible study lesson led by Ed Piontek. We are currently studying the book of James. Ed is a great teacher and has a passion to share with others. You will learn and gain much by being involved with these lessons.
Some of our ministry missions and activities have been:
Support of Cub Scout Pack and soon Boy Scout Troop
Support of Prison Ministries
Support of annual trip to Red Bird Mission
Host Rail Cats family outing
Looking forward to a new season and start this fall of our UMM and the many activities that this ministry will afford us. Would you consider maybe coming and joining us on Saturdays that you may be available? You would be a wonderful asset to our ministry. Please think and pray about it.
Sincerely – Mike Matthew – UMM President
Prison Ministry News
Each Wednesday night our team experiences a wonderful evening of fellowship and praise with the offender's at Westville. Before entering, we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us directions. We are truly blessed to be among those whose hearts have been changed or in the process of changing and turning their lives over to Jesus. As prayers are sent up, the blessings are come down. God is working through them all at Westville; God is softening hearts and preparing the way so eyes and ears will be opened to the saving grace of our Lord!
Our team wants to thank each of you at Portage First for blessing these men with your gifts and contributions. Most recently, many of you helped by giving to our prison ministry with your generous offering for the life recovery bible, these bibles are special because they directly help the offenders by giving them what they need to build on and helping them become stronger as a recovering addict.
If you or anyone you may know has a heart for this ministry or questions, or if you would like to attend with us on any Wednesday night, just let Mike Matthew, Wendy Smith, Melissa Sullivan or myself Steve Massow, know 24 hour in advance, we'll be sure to help get you pointed in the right direction. May God continue to bless you and this heartfelt ministry.
Children’s Church for September
September 4 Patti Coates and Cheryl Hamilton
Sept. 11 Simeon and Pastor Deb
Sept. 18 Clara and Pastor Deb
Sept. 28 Ethan and Pastor Deb
Mission Possible Kids
CALLING ALL AGENTS
FIRST MISSION POSSIBLE MEETING IN SUNDAY, SEPT. 18
You will want to bring your special mission skills as we help to Stomp Out Hunger here in Portage Township.
We have plenty of openings for new agents. Agents need to be in kindergarten through 5th grade and have a heart for helping others. Come on Sept. 18 to find out what it means to be a Mission Possible Kid! Parents will need to register their child. Cost is $8.00 for the school year. T-shirts are $12.00. We understand that budgets are tight at the beginning of school. Scholarships are available.