‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’
At significant moments in salvation history, God has called his people to seek him in prayer. I believe that this is such a time in the life of Calvary Church. God has blessed us greatly over the past several years. The Vision One process has given us focus and raised an awareness and desire for discipleship among many in the congregation. We were blessed with an extremely smooth dismissal to ECO which unified the congregation and raised expectations for the future. God continues to work through faithful staff, leaders, and partners in ministry. God has provided for us in every way.
Yet it would be less than honest not to admit that we face challenges. We face the challenges of living into the values and ethos of ECO. How do we become a different kind of church rather than simply operating under a new denominational label? How do we grow as a flourishing congregation that makes disciples of Jesus Christ? We face challenges in that we are an increasingly aging congregation. How do we address the ministry implications of that reality both now and in the future? What changes will that require? What opportunities does it bring? We, like all churches, face the challenges of ministry in a rapidly shifting culture.
In the midst of challenges, I believe that God has an exciting future for Calvary Church. This future will not be brought about by our own strivings and effort alone. We need the presence and power of God.
Through the months of July and August, the Elders of Calvary Church have called our congregation to a season of prayer focused upon:
1) thanking God for his faithfulness and favor in the past
2) recommitting ourselves to God’s call and purposes for Calvary Church
3) seeking God’s wisdom and guidance for our future
4) asking for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and in our life together, that God’s Kingdom would be advanced to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Groups have been gathering for this purpose on Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:30pm and Sundays from 9:15 to 9:45am. I invite you to join us—both in your personal prayers and, as you are able, in these corporate gatherings—to seek the Lord in prayer for the future of our congregation.
Grace and Peace,
Now that we have passed the halfway point to our summer activities, we turn our attention to our fall preview. On Sunday, September 10, the deacons will be ushering in Calvary’s 2017-2018 ministry season with a delicious pancake breakfast. Please save the date, and keep an eye out for more information coming soon!
God’s peace & blessings always, the Calvary Board of Deacons
(Dan Blanchette-moderator, Serena Thomsen-vice moderator, Pam Burn, Jennifer Clark, Avis Hall, Susan Harger, Roberta Richmond, Dottie Smith, Lorri Valle)
Have you heard and seen the new piano in the sanctuary? Thanks to generous donations by family and friends in memory of Julie McNabb, a Yamaha upright was purchased in June from Falcetti Music in Springfield. It will be dedicated during the worship service on August 6. This instrument is an appropriate memorial to Julie, who played piano. It is far superior to the previous one, and should serve the church well for many years to come.
The Summer Choir will sing on August 20. Those who would like to sing should gather in the choir room on the upper level (UL5) at 9:30am to rehearse the music for the service. All are welcome, even if you have not sung with our choir before.
Calvary’s Youth Ministry Ignite the Flame
The Youth Group has kept busy this summer, helping at the Community Garden and Town 4th of July Celebration; learning about the risk of underage alcohol abuse from The Network and Enfield Together Coalition; and a summer picnic! Many teens are looking forward to attending Family Camp in August!
Have you noticed the book cart in the Fellowship Mall? There’s another one in the library with 250 new book titles, DVDs, and CDs for adults, children, and youth. We also have about 200 titles on prayer on the shelves just under the windows in the library if you need some inspiration for our prayer-filled and prayer–focused summer. Come and see! What you’ve wanted may just be there. And thank you for all your wonderful donations!
Carol Rinkavage, Librarian
Reflections by Dot Cutter: Facades
In rocky regions of the world, stone buildings have a history of great longevity. Churches in particular often display great artistic beauty carved into or affixed to their solid stone facades. In homes and other small buildings constructed of stone, they carry a unique charm all their own. In the United States this is especially true of those in New England which supplied many builders with a ready supply of materials from local quarries. Varying stone composition offered a wide range of colors and shadings, adding interest to these buildings. The oldest of these structures began with a stone foundation, often laid so meticulously that no mortar was needed. Then followed solid stone walls, chiseled and fitted to perfection, to support at least two stories and the roof. Modern engineering has changed all that.
Meandering along the back roads of southern New England, I’ve marveled at these stone buildings, many more than 200 years old, so sound they could withstand all the extreme nasty weather nature could buffet them with. Yet they were still vulnerable to the extremes of war and fire. Such was the case just a few years ago when a roaring fire reduced a 150-year-old wooden church in our community to rubble within a few hours. Even the large foundation stones were sufficiently damaged so that when rebuilt, reinforced concrete was substituted for the stone foundation. That was then finished off with a thin stone façade or veneer. Ironically, a short time later one piece sloughed off revealing ugly concrete!
Musing about these stone walls and buildings, I began drawing parallels to our lives as Christians. We come to Christ as spiritually frail and flimsy as a stick shack. Yet over a lifetime, the Holy Spirit, acting as the master builder, does a magnificent job of transforming us into sturdy structures fit for His habitation. Jesus becomes our cornerstone and foundation, and situation by situation He tears down and replaces everything that is weak and flawed with His own strength. Our character is changed and upgraded. Our mind is renewed. Our wills are conformed to His. He doesn’t make us look good by putting a thin façade over a faulty structure, but instead does His greatest work first on the inside. So in time, when someone scratches the surface of who we are, what they will find is solid rock through and through — thoroughly unshakable. And housed within, people will meet a representation of Jesus Himself, radiating the characteristics of compassion, love, peace, joy, wisdom, honesty, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, moral purity, and integrity.
This is achieved only as we relinquish control of our lives to the One who loves us unconditionally. Fellowship with the Lord through His word and prayer brings us into closer, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Our desires change and we seek Him more readily. Our expectations soar and He does not disappoint. Perhaps periodically we need to go on a building inspection tour of our “inner abode” with the Holy Spirit, inviting Him to give us His assessment of the condition of that abode. Perhaps we are due an upgrade so it will no longer be “I who live but Christ who lives in me.”(Gal. 2:20)
2 Addison Hawkins, Deb Woodworth
5 Gloria Walsh
6 Akua Nimo
8 Cyrilla Shaw
9 Sam Farrelly
11 Lorri Valle
12 Peter duPlessis
14 Linley Ruoss, Janice Singer
15 Wayne Richmond
18 Mickey Love, Sue Harger
21 Giovanny Valle
23 Marcheta Savo
25 Julia Agyeman
26 Brianna Lee
28 Ross Hunter
31 Shannah Zinkievich
8 Chris & Jen Hawkins (2008)
13 Dan & Sheila Beaudry (1999)
14 Fred & Cyrilla Shaw (1965)
20 John & Dot Cutter (1960)
21 Steve & Melissa Thayer (1976)
25 Bob & Gail Clark (1962)
31 Rick & Sandy Wezowicz (1968)
If you would like your birthday and/or anniversary to appear in the Crier—or if you have any corrections or edits to your information—please contact Corrine via our website or by calling the church office at 860-745-5211.