Pastors Michael Lawson & Tara Keen
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue VIIII September 2018
FROM THE PASTOR Autumn Is Upon Us!
Yesterday while driving through town I noticed for the first time a tree whose leaves had begun to change color. In fact, even now as I sit in my office I can see one of our trees bursting into yellow joyfulness. Make no mistake, I LOVE this time of year! The best foods like apples, stews, and pies taste best to low rumble of football games and crisp bite of cold in the air. I even love the sweaters and warm clothes that appear this time of year!
At the end of the month is our annual Church Fall picnic! We are planning a pie bake off for the adults, a pie eating contest for the ravenous, and a cookie bake off for the children! Autumn can be so much fun!
When I was in seminary, my roommate James would bring out one of his favorite fall recipes at this time of year. A recipe I first balked at but once tasted I have never forgotten. I continue the tradition of baking them every September! So as means of easing our transition from summer to autumn, I share it here with you now! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies! Bon Appetit!
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 1 c. 100% pure pumpkin
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. milk
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 c. flour
- 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
- Combine oil, pumpkin, sugar, egg, & vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine baking soda & milk. Add to pumpkin mixture.
- In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, baking powder, salt, & flour. Add to pumpkin mixture.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Allow batter to sit for 15 minutes.
- Using a cookie scoop, place batter on baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Yield depends on size of cookies. 1 tablespoon cookie scoop typically yields 3 dozen.
A great big thank you to our finance committee for undertaking a capital campaign for the trustees. We greatly appreciate their asserted efforts in challenging our congregation to raise $12,000.00 so some important projects can be completed this year. For example, steps are already being taken to rebuild and level the drain area near the handicap parking area. Then it is necessary to clean and fill all of the cracks in the parking lot area which have started to appear since our major driveway resurfacing in 2016 and then finish the job by sealing and restriping the parking lot. Meanwhile, we have completed some areas of mulching around the parsonage and the west side of the church building and bought desks for Pastor Tara and Pastor Michael. A new "office" directional sign will be installed on the edge of education wing to direct those not familiar with our main west door entrance versus the education wing entrance and a face lift to our present church sign with new lettering to replace faded and worn signage. The metal roof on the silver barn that stores items for several different groups within our church especially the rummage items has been patched of numerous leaks. Some additional work is needed to remove the hanging insulation inside. New fans are needed in the sanctuary and a fresh paint job is in the planning stage. We need to replace the kitchen refrigerator with a new 3 door stainless steel unit on wheels. We also have obtained a bid for the design and installation of a stainless-steel handrail at the north door entrance. Then dreaming the hopefully “possible" dream for the next 1-5 years includes new ovens and stoves ($10,000.00) and flooring ($3,000.00) for the kitchen, new air conditioner for the parsonage (2,500.00), an electronic church sign and new flooring for the fellowship hall, education wing, counting room and office. Philippians 4:13 says " I (we) can do all things through Him who gives me (us)strength". Let us persevere for the great things God has instore for us at Portage First.
Operation Christmas Child:
Saturday, September 22, 2018 will be a big day at Portage First for the blessings of the shoe box ministry known as Operation Christmas Child. This year the missions committee adopted an international mission project to help children around the world who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine. The shoebox ministry is our way to show children tangible love from someone they don't know offering hope and to share the good news that God love them. Our goal is to fill 400 boxes with hygiene items and child appropriate toys and clothing. This project has been a year-long collection process and we are now nearing the end by asking for a few specific items such as coloring books or activity books, toothbrushes and underwear. And we are still accepting all types of item in the Christmas basket found near the connection center. Our goal is to provide each box with at least one of the following: socks, flipflops, underwear, shirt or shorts. We are also seeking a lot of help to complete this mission project on the 22nd. There are jobs for everyone from building boxes, to sorting and arranging items, to writing out a short message of hope for each box to rubber banding and packing the boxes. Please come and "stuff a box". Doors will open at 9 a.m. with some light food if you wish to eat and the event will begin at 10 a.m.
UNITED METHODIST WOMEN
Friday, Sept 7th @ 9:30 am
After taking a couple months off during the Summer!
All women of All ages please join us for breakfast snacks and fellowship at 9:30am
Our program this month is "Getting to know you"
Hope to see you there!
Note from Pastor Tara
Hello! This past month has brought the return to bus driving and attending Course of Study for me, as well as my children back to school and all the activities that brings! Other exciting news I have is that I have applied and been accepted to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Il. I will be attending there part-time starting in February 2019 working towards a Master's of Divinity instead of attending Course of Study classes in Indianapolis. I will continue to work part time for our church and part time as a bus driver for Lake Station schools.
Another change happening is that due to my part-time schedule, Pastor Michael has agreed that my main area of focus should be Congregational Care. What that means is that some things that I have been involved in (like Finance, Missions, etc.) I will no longer be attending, and instead focus the bulk of my time on coordinating Congregational Care.
Our Congregational Care team helps us to be a church family, and to work as the body of Christ. Congregational Care Team members are people who have training and a passion for reaching out to others. My function will be more of coordinating care. I may not be the person who visits every week, but will coordinate to make sure that someone from our church, hopefully someone that our members have a connection with already, is able to visit or check in with members of our congregation going through issues such as hospitalization, illness, loss, grief, etc.
I will still continue to make visits, but as I am part time and will be working 20-30 hours at bus driving in addition to my church duties, and as a parent attending some of my own children's games etc., it is impossible for me to be able to meet the vast needs of our congregation by myself. Coordinating Care with Congregational Care Ministers assures that needs are being met.
Thank you, and God Bless you this September!
First Friday Fellowship will meet on Friday, September 7th at 5pm at Marquette Yacht Club, 1218 Crisman Rd. Portage, IN. R.S.V.P to Sandra Robinson at 764-8433 no later than noon Sept. 7th.
United Methodist Men’s News
Welcome back from our summer break gentlemen. Hope you had a good summer with family.
Saturday-09/08/18 is our first official fall meeting here at our church – meeting in the fellowship hall.
We meet for food, fellowship, and study of the bible – along with sharing in our involvement in various
ministries we are involved in.
8:00 AM breakfast – hosted this month by Mike
Come join us!
Who Wants Popcorn?
Our very own Cub Scout Pack 487 will be selling POPCORN on September 9th before and after services.
Please support our Cub Scouts!!!!!
Again, in August, we witnessed your generosity in spreading the love of Christ through your support of Royal Family Kid’s Camp (via the car show), your donations of food for the Portage Township Food Pantry and the Vegetable Sharing Table, your support of the Portage Backpack Program, the Emergency fund, and more. Thank you for all you do! You truly are being the hands and feet of Jesus!
This month we wanted to share a few things with you:
- For the Food Pantry in August, we are collecting foods for side dishes, like stuffing, pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, etc.
- Eleven men from Westville Correctional Facility came to explore the Christian faith through the “Alpha” course which our Prison Ministry team began in August. We have definitely been feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in these sessions. Please pray that these men develop and strengthen their relationship with our Lord during this exciting study.
- The prison is also in need of new or used (clean) men’s tennis shoes sizes 8 – 13. The men need shoes to wear when they are released to go home. If you can help, please place shoes in a bag labeled “for Westville” and leave them on the rummage sale table.
- We are starting a “Portage First Green Team” to help us all learn to become even better stewards of God’s creation. If you are interested in participating, please contact Wendy Smith.
- We are looking for a person with organizational strengths who would be willing to be our recording secretary for the Missions and Outreach Committee. Please let Wendy Smith know if you are interested.
- Your friends in the Missions and Outreach Committee (Steve Massow, James Jordan, Annette McCarty, Kate Blakely, Connie Ellefson, and Wendy Smith)
PRISON MINISTRY UPDATE
Portage First's prison team have a couple of requests for the offenders at Westville Correctional Facility.
First and above all, pray for the incarcerated. It's always difficult for them to be separated from their families, regardless of the mistake that they have made to wind up in prison.
Secondly, Westville Correctional Facility is still in need of tennis shoes sizes 9 -13. New or gently-used are okay as long as they are clean. Just place them into a bag tie it up, and clearly mark with tape "prison ministry" drop it by the rummage sale drop off on the east side of the fellowship hall where rummage is normally dropped off.
Please know that each offender we meet every week is aware that Portage First cares for them and that we pray for them and bring them hope.
We want them all to know that they are not forgotten "throw away" people, but almighty God indeed has a purpose and a plan and a future for their lives, just like he does for you and I.
It's God's call to us to bring them that hope! We see hearts softened and changed for Christ weekly if you ever feel a tug on your heart that you might consider going Behind the Walls every Wednesday night please don't hesitate to contact anyone in the PF hope prison team Steve Massow, Wendy Smith, Melissa Sullivan, or Mike Matthew.
You may go with us up to two times in a year to just observe with no commitment.
If you think that this would be something for you then you can join our team!
If not that's okay too, but at least you can see for yourself how it's possible that you may have misconceptions about these men or what we do, and how the blessings flow weekly.
If you're thinking about it, please pray about it!
Thanks, and God bless! Your PF Hope prison team
With a new school year starting Youth Group & MPK: Mission Portage Kids are getting back into the swing of things. We have a lot of interesting things planned this school year.
On Sunday September 9th we will have an informational meeting 12:30-2 in the fellowship hall for any parents & kids who are interested or want more information. Lunch will be provided. MPK is open to kids who are in Kindergarten - 5th grade and Youth Group is for students in 6th-12th grade.
On September 16th any kids or youth who anticipate going to camp next summer are asked to help the UMW with rummage sale setup. They are a big contributor to our camp scholarship fund so let's show our appreciation by helping them out!
On Saturday September 22nd both Youth & MPK will be helping to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child in the fellowship hall from 9-1. We've been gathering items, shopping for items, writing letters to the children receiving the boxes and holding fundraisers throughout the year and the time has finally come to pack the boxes!
For more information about any of the above events please contact Kate Blakely at 574-621-0070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Spiritual Formation
Portage First United Methodist Church
Portage First Annual All Church Picnic as Crossroads
Get out those recipes and warm-up your ovens for our apple pie, pumpkin pie and cookie baking contests to be held on Sunday, September 30th following the second service. Pie contest will be for the adults to enter and the cookie contest will be for the kids to enter. Additional information to come. We hope you will join us for food, fun and fellowship!
September 14th at 6pm.
Calling all fish lovers!!!! Come join us as James Jordan and Steve Massow fry up some fish they have caught through-out the summer. It will be another evening of food and fellowship. See you there!
Happy September Birthday to…
Happy September Anniversary to…
Mike & Kathy Matthew
John & Danah Peterson
Bill & Lynn Liesch
Jason & Erica Bush
James & Betty Smith
Ryan & Amy Kegely
Ed & Laura Piontek
Todd & April Taylor
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
Remember your church in your will.
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.
It’s that time of year again! RUMMAGE SALE!
- Sunday, September 16th – Table setup, bring in all the goodies from the shed.
- Monday, September 17th thru Wednesday, September 19th - empty boxes, pricing, sorting, move over large items from the barns, etc. And, TWEAK, TWEAK, TWEAK!
- Thursday, September 20th (9a-6p)
- Friday, September 21st (9a-3p “Fill a Bag Day”)
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!