God cares, right down to the last detail. (James 5:11)
I have had the opportunity to be refreshed by two weeks of vacation. I spent time at the beaches – in Ocean City, MD, and in Lavallette, NJ. I reconnected with two old high school girl friends. It was simply lovely! And coming back to my ministry here, I was struck by how well God is caring for us, and how well we are caring for each other. This is why it’s great to be the church!
- Kudos to Stacey Altiere and the five families who worked at the outreach for Warren Harding High School Pantry and the Warren Police Department. You probably already know that this was a Thrivent action team project that was immensely successful. Watch for Stacey’s poster board with the results and photos of the event.
- Kudos to Matthew Vinson for leading our teens in a fun overnight “lock-in” and a fundraising car wash. It is not easy to create a youth group from the ground up, but Matt is doing the footwork to build relationships with teens and families that will grow into something great!
- When I see all the hands that are working to prepare and carry-out a rummage sale, I am reminded how much time you give generously to making this church an enjoyable place with a strong foundation. Thank you!
- Vacation Bible School is coming as I write this. I know many of you are lending support to the “Super Hero” program that is being led by Stacey Altiere, and supported by Matthew Vinson and me. Right now 12 kids are registered and more are anticipated. God cares for each of these young ones, and through our resources, we are showing them how much God loves them.
- When we have had accidents, illnesses, or losses, the members of Christ’s body here at St. Paul have offered loving support, cards, and visits. As St. Teresa has said, “Christ has no hands or feet but yours.” We are church, and we are making Christ present. Do not forget to stop and reflect on how blessed we are – each one of us – to be Christ’s body in this place and time. We are making a difference. Jesus loves you!
Rev. Ann Marie Perkins
HEALING FROM LIFE’S HABITS, HURTS, AND HANG-UPS: I travelled to Nashville, TN, during the second week of July to attend a conference called “Celebrate Recovery”. About 3,000 people from the mid-west and east coast attended the conference. It was energizing and inspiring. This program has been in place for over 25 years, beginning at Saddleback Church in Long Beach, CA, and spreading to more than 55,000 churches worldwide. Yes, you read that right (55,000 churches have Celebrate Recovery group meetings). Celebrate Recovery is a time for healing from life’s habits, hurts, and hang-ups. It is based on the 8 principles of the Beatitudes of Jesus. Participants find healing from addiction, loss, grief, alcoholism, ACOA, compulsions such as over-eating or gambling, co-dependency in relationships, trauma, abuse, and so on. Basically, if you (or someone in your family) has had an experience of this sort, it is possible to engage in a healing process and to find hope and freedom from the problem – living in recovery.
What is a meeting like? At a weekly meeting, people who share in the Celebrate Recovery program gather for a time of worship songs, followed by a large group lesson or presentation. Then, gender-based small groups (that is men together, and women together) gather to discuss the 8 principles of the Beatitudes in a study guide format that brings healing to the individuals in their groups.
It is not Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon. It is not bible study. It is not a therapy group or a support group. However, it has some similarities to these sorts of things. Namely, people gather to be uplifted through mutual dependence on Jesus Christ and the wisdom and healing he gives us for our lives. The Evangelism Committee is considering how Celebrate Recovery might work in our community – as an outreach to anyone with a need for healing from life’s habits, hurts, and hang-ups. If you have questions or you might be interested in supporting this ministry, please see Pastor Ann Marie or Marty Maurice (Evangelism Committee Chair). If there is enough interest, we will visit another local Celebrate Recovery group to see how they do things and to learn from them. Pastor Ann Marie
ENHANCING OUR WORSHIP THROUGH MUSIC: Dave Maurice, Worship Committee Chair and musician, is planning to add vocalists and musical pieces to our worship times beginning in September. If your voice is an instrument or you play a musical instrument, please talk to Dave for a date that you can share your gift with our community. Soli Deo Gloria (to God be the Glory).
CAMP FREDERICK SERVANT WEEK: We just want the church of St. Paul to know that Servant Week at Camp Frederick was a time of growth and giving. The four teens who attended (Brooke and Dominic Frazzini, Sarah Durf, and Kaitlyn Steuer) had never camped before, but they embraced the camp with enthusiasm and participated in just about all the activities that were offered: swimming, archery, climbing wall, zip line, slip n- slide, campfires, and so on. They also served so good-naturedly by painting the exterior of the adult retreat center building, power washing decks, landscaping at St. Paul Church (Leetonia), and doing a few other miscellaneous jobs. WOW! They worked hard in the summer heat. We should be very proud of their servant spirit! Thanks for your support.
CELEBRATE GRAND-FAMILIES: “Celebrate Grand-families” is a support group for grandparents raising their grandchildren. St. Paul is reaching out to support these families with Christian compassion and a place to meet and discuss their needs. We now have 17 families who participate, and more are welcome, if you know of anyone who would fit in. While the women meet, we will have crafts, games, bible stories, snacks, help with homework, tutoring, and a fun social time for children. Church members are needed to help with the children. Sessions in August will be on Saturdays, August 10 and 24, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. Please contact Brenda Ceplecci or Pastor Perkins to help.
FELLOWSHIP BREAKFAST: There is some interest in forming a fun group for fellowship. Jean Waris (a newcomer to St. Paul) and Diana Bauman will be meeting in the group room at Perkins restaurant (Rt. 46 across from the Eastwood Mall) on Saturday, September 7, at 9:30 am. Come have a delicious breakfast and fellowship time. Please sign up in the narthex.