Sunday, November 25, 2018

December 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                  December 2018

A Bright Hanukah Light                    

The December 2003 Readers Digest carried a true story by Joe Fitzgerald called “A New Light.” It was about the Markovitz’s, a Jewish family who lived in a Pennsylvania suburb where one Christmas season they were awakened at around five one morning by the sound of glass shattering. 

They ran down to find the window broken where they had their illuminated menorah, a Jewish candelabra, now damaged and lying on the floor. There’s was one of the few homes in their neighborhood that didn’t have traditional Christmas decorations, and some person or group apparently felt a need to express their intolerance by destroying this symbol of their faith used in a celebration of Hanukah.

This Hebrew holiday marks the event when, as tradition has it, Jews returned to their temple in Jerusalem after their exile and found it desecrated, and went about reconsecrating it as a place of worship. To do so they needed, among other things, to keep a lamp lit day and night in the temple. Unfortunately, they had enough oil for only one night, but decided to go ahead and light the lamp anyway, and according to Hanukah tradition, it kept burning for eight nights, a miracle the Markowitz’s celebrated each year. 

Some of their neighbors were outraged by the crime committed against the Merkowitz’s, and got their heads together to decide how to show their support. 

So the next evening when the Markowitz's turned on to their street they saw an extraordinary sight, something like another miracle. Nearly every home in the neighborhood had an illuminated menorah in their window, as if to say, “If you want to bring harm to any one of us, you will have to attack us all.”                                                                   - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Karen Campbell 12/26/69!
  • GEMEINSCHAFT CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE from 2-4 pm Sunday, December 2.
  • All ARE INVITED to a Christmas Lessons and Carols service featuring EMU choir ensembles and readers Monday, December 10 at 7 p.m. in Lehman Auditorium. A free-will offering will be taken for the compassion fund.

December Lectionary Texts

2   Jeremiah 33:14-16 Psalm 25:1-10  1 Thessalonians 3:9-13           Luke 21:25-36
9   Malachi 3:1-4  Luke 1:68-79  Philippians 1:3-11  Luke 3:1-6
16 Zephaniah 3:14-20 Isaiah 12:2-6 Philippians 4:4-7  Luke 3:7-18
23 Micah 5:2-5a  Luke 1:46b-55  Hebrews 10:5-10 Luke 1:39-55
30 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26  Psalm 148 Colossians 3:12-17  Luke 2:41-52

December services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm

2 Location: Park Place meeting room, 2nd floor                        432-0531
Advent worship and sharing: Harvey Yoder   
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                   No evening meal                                              
9 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave.    432-0531 
Menorah Candle and Advent Communion Service c/o Harvey Yoder
Meal: communion bread, grape juice, cheese and raw vegetable and fruit
16 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Dr,  K-town 908-0391
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in meal
23 Location: Lewis & Mary Ellen Overholt  Heritage Haven G49
Worship and sharing: Kent Palmer                                                  432-7277                                      Bible Study: Lewis Overholt                                             Brown bag meal
30 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr 22802  564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                           
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                       Carry-in meal              

Friday, October 26, 2018

November 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                     November 2018

Is Some Exodus History Repeating Itself?                    

"The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about 600,000 men on foot, besides women and children." 
- Exodus 12:37

Today we are witnessing an unprecedented migration of people fleeing for their lives from one of the poorest and most violence-ridden countries in the world, Honduras. I can't help thinking of similarities between their plight and that of the Israelites deprived of their freedom and in fear of their future under Egyptian Pharaohs many years ago.

In this case the 'Pharaoh' is a corrupt and drug-infested government of a nation that has a higher poverty rate than that of Haiti. Teen age girls and boys are in particular danger of being raped and pressured to cooperate with drug cartels, with precious little protection from Honduran police. Unemployment is at a record high, and wages for those who are working are among the lowest in the world. 

But this isn't a case of people simply looking for better economic opportunity. Most of these migrants' very lives are in danger.

On our side of the border we have a choice. Will we work with our neighbors to the south to help provide reasonable protection and better opportunities for them, and by investing in "cities of refuge" on both sides of the border? Or will be like the Philistines in the biblical story who do everything we can to keep them from 'invading' the very part of our West we once invaded and conquered as Mexican-held territory?

Historically, God has always been on the side of needy refugees rather than on the side of world powers who have shunned them.
                                                                                       - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • THE 17TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF PRAISE, featuring ten local men’s music ensembles and a combined men’s choir, will be held at the Eastern Mennonite School auditorium Sunday, November 4, at 4 pm. Our service is cancelled so all can attend this event.
  • OUR ‘MY COINS COUNT’ (Penny Power) contribution to MCC at the Relief Sale was $101.51.
  • NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS Neal Nelson 11/2, Paul Swarr 11/10, Emily Zhou 11/11, and Guy Vlasits 11/21. Neal and Elly Nelson’s 25th anniversary is November 26! 
  • CHECK OUT THE EXHIBIT on WW I war resisters at EMU's Hartzler Library October 1-November 17. 

November Lectionary Texts

4   Ruth 1:1-18   Psalm 146   Deuteronomy 6:1-9  Hebrews 9:11-14  
            Mark 12:28-34
11 Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 Psalm 127 1 Kings 17:8-16  Hebrews 9:24-28 Mark 12:38-44
18 1 Samuel 1:4-20  Daniel 12:1-3   Psalm 16   Hebrews 10:11-25      
            Mark 13:1-8
25 2 Samuel 23:1-7  Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14  Psalm 93   Revelation 1:4b-8 John 18:33-37


November services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm

4 Today’s Family of Hope service is cancelled in favor of our being able to attend the Festival of Praise event at EMS (see note above).
11 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave  432-0531
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                                              
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                 Brown bag meal
18 Location: Lewis and Mary Ellen Overholt  Heritage Haven G49
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt                              432-7277
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                   Brown bag meal
25 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr 22802      564-3716
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                           
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                               Annual Thanksgiving meal              

Saturday, September 29, 2018

October 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                   October 2018

It’s All ‘Government Property’        - Harvey Yoder

We’ve all been taught that Christians no longer claim ownership of anything, but see themselves only as trusted managers, or "stewards" of the wealth and property that is totally our Creator's. Using wealth primarily to benefit ourselves thus becomes a form of embezzlement, since everything we have is marked “God’s Property”.
    Having said that, this concept has never seemed to make much of a difference in how we think of possessions. Our incomes are still thought of as ours, except for the ten percent we may offer to our church or to charities. Our investments and our purchases are still seen as purely personal matters about which we make decisions based on our individual conscience.
     But Jesus clearly asks us to think of ourselves and are belongings as now being a part of the "Kingdom (Rule) of Heaven", a worldwide government in which God is supreme owner and Lord of all.
     As an example of this, in each of the first three gospels, Jesus states that we must become like children in order to become shareholders in this glorious enterprise. Children have no claim to adult power, prestige or possessions.   
     Then immediately after each of these stories about Jesus welcoming and blessing children, there is the account of the "rich young ruler" who comes to Jesus to inquire about how to be assured of eternal life. Jesus’s answer is stunning. If you are serious about gaining stock in the eternal 'Company of Heaven', he says, "Sell what you have and give it to the poor."
     Thus whenever we acknowledge God's rule, we surrender all. For Kingdom-enlisted men and women, our bodies are a living sacrifice, our finances are no longer our own, our possessions are all marked "Kingdom property."
     Which is what we say and what we sing, as in "All to Jesus I surrender" or "Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold.”
     Yet a big part of me wants to avoid actually giving up any of the comfort, convenience and privilege of being in the top tier of the wealthiest people on earth.
Kyrie, eleison.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • GUY AND MARGIE VLASITS’ NEW ADDRESS is 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown, VA 22832!
  • OUR PRAYERS FOR THE NELSONS as they prepare for a possible move for Neal to the Curis Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center in Harrisonburg.
  • OCTOBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Joyce Ulrich 10/14, and Elly Nelson 10/28! 
October Lectionary Texts

7   Job 1:1, 2:1-10  Genesis 2:18-24  Psalm 8   Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 Mark 10:2-16
14 Job 23:1-9, 16-17  Amos 5:6-15  Psalm 90:12-17 Hebrews 4:12-16 Mark 10:17-31
21 Job 38:1-7, (34-41) Isaiah 53:4-12  Psalm 91:9-16   Hebrews 5:1-10 Mark 10:35-45
28 Job 42:1-6, 10-17 Jeremiah 31:7-9  Psalm 126  Hebrews 7:23-28 Mark 10:46-52

October services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm

7 Location: Lois Rivera-Wenger 204 Homes Ln Staunton, 502-663-3195
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Lewis Overholt                       Picnic Meal provided by Lois!
14 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                  564-3716              
Worship and sharing: Elly Nelson
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                 (No evening meal)
21 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Dr,  K-town 908-0391
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                Monthly Carry-in
28 Location: Family Life Resource Center, 273 Newman Ave.  432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                           
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                               Brown bag meal              

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September 2018 newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                   September 2018

Our Hypocrisy on ‘Social Action’     - Harvey Yoder

Mennonite Central Committee and other relief and service organizations are often criticized for being too focused on physically bettering people's lives and not enough on evangelizing them.
     Some of the questions raised are, What good is it to educate people and to improve their health and their means of livelihood if we don't help them with their eternal spiritual needs? And while we should of course offer emergency relief to people who are hungry and homeless, shouldn't our primary mission be to change people's hearts and prepare them for the life to come?
     Jesus' life and ministry is a demonstration of the fact that both are important.
     According to his inaugural address Jesus' mission, and ours, is to "bring good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to announce release to captives, to bring sight to the blind, and to free those who are in prison." All of this is in fulfillment of our obligation to love God above every other love or allegiance, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
     Here's where our hypocrisy comes in. The fact is that few of us pay attention just to our spiritual needs. Rather, most of us spend an extraordinary amount of time and money on the kinds of "social action" that benefit ourselves and our families.
     For example, we invest whatever energy and resources necessary to make sure we have the best housing in the best neighborhood possible, that our children have the best education available, that our every health needs are met to the fullest and finest extent, and that we have all of the recreational and entertainment opportunities we can afford.
     In short, these are among the many ways we love ourselves and our own families. And up to a point, we should.
     But that's where the "as yourself" question comes in. Shouldn't we be equally dedicated to the same kinds of needs in our neighbors around the world?
     Of course we can't do everything needed for every one in need. But as communities of faith we should never assume that we deserve better than others just because we are North Americans, nor assume that others' needs are primarily spiritual while ours are by right far more earth-based than heaven-based.
      It's at the heart of our Bible: "Love your neighbor and yourself, and as yourself.”

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • THE VIRGINIA MENNONITE RELIEF SALE will be held at the Rockingham Fairgrounds Friday evening, October 5 and all day Saturday, October 6. Be prepared to match your spending with generous giving at the SOS (Sharing Our Surplus) refugee gift table. 
  • OUR CONDOLENCES TO LOIS RIVERA-WENGER, whose oldest brother Gordon passed away August 8.
  • AUGUST BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Lewis Overholt (9/5), and David Weaver (9/23)! David is a resident of Crestwood at VMRC and a faithful supporter of our congregation.
  • THERE WILL BE A CELEBRATION OF LEWIS OVERHOLT'S 80th birthday at VMRC's Village Hall Saturday, September 15 from 12:30-4 pm!
September Lectionary Texts
  Deuteronomy 4:1-9 Psalm 15  James 1:17-27  Mark 7:1-8, 14-23
9  Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23  Isaiah 35:4-7a  Psalm 146  James 2:1-17 Mark 7:24-37
16 Proverbs 1:20-33  Psalm 19  Isaiah 50:4-9a  James 3:1-12              
             Mark 8:27-38
23 Proverbs 31:10-31  Psalm 1 Jeremiah 11:18-20  James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a  Mark 9:30-37
30 Esther 7:1-10; 9:20-22  Psalm 124  Numbers 11:4-29  James 5:13-20  Mark 9:38-50

September services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm
2 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                 (No evening meal)
9 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)                432-0531
Worship and Sharing:                                  
Bible Study: Kent Palmer                                                   Brown bag meal
16 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                   
Bible Study: Lewis Overholt                                             Brown bag meal
23 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Dr,  K-town 269-6706
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                         Housewarming Carry-in Meal
30 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr, 22802     564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in Meal         

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

August 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                         August 2018

From Utmost East To Utmost West    - Harvey Yoder

We were blessed recently having Hongyan and Bo Hu Zhou and daughters Emily and Eliana here for a visit.  Hongyan came to EMU as a visiting scholar from the Chongqing University of Medical Sciences in China in 2004, and became a part of our house church congregation through staying with one of our members, the late Rachel Stoltzfus.

Hongyan had become a believer through the influence of a US teacher of English at his University, and he and his wife Bo Hu, became very active in one of a growing number of house churches in Chongquing. After coming to the states, Hong Yan was granted religious asylum and immediately sought to bring his wife and their young daughter here to join him.

Bo Hu and Emily were welcomed into Rachel's home in 2006, and she and Emily, then a fourth grader, soon became a beloved part of our community and our living-room-size church family. In 2009 the three moved to California to be closer to Bo Hu's parents, and where Hongyan got a job in nursing, having just completed his nursing degree.

Bo Hu, then in her late thirties, and after having had several miscarriages, gave birth to their miracle child, Eliana, which means “The Lord has heard my prayer.”

Eliana will be in the fourth grade this fall, and Bo, having just earned an RN degree, will be finding full time work in nursing. Emily is completing her last year of college at UC Berkley, where she had a full tuition scholarship she earned, amazingly, by winning an art contest in Virginia as a new elementary student in her first year in the states. She hopes to enroll in dental school in the fall of 2019 after completing her senior year next spring.

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • GUY AND MARGIE VLASITS hope to be moved to their new house by the end of this month. Their new address is 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown, VA 22832  
  • OUR CONTINUED PRAYERS for restored health for Bertha Swarr and for all of our friends at VMRC.
  • AUGUST BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Kent Palmer 8/10 and Gail Blackburn 8/30! Alma Jean and Harvey’s anniversary is 8/8 and James and Ruth Stauffer’s is 8/30.
  • JOSIAH DUMAS’s correct phone number is 571-577-0144.

August Lectionary Texts

5   2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a Psalm 51:1-12 Ephesians 4:1-16  John 6:24-35
12  2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33  Psalm 130 1 Kings 19:4-8  Ephesians 4:25-5:2  John 6:35, 41-51
19 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 Psalm 111 Proverbs 9:1-6 Ephesians 5:15-20 John 6:51-58
26  1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43 Psalm 84 Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 Ephesians 6:10-20  John 6:56-69

August services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm (except 8/19)

5 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                 (No evening meal)
12 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                                  
Bible Study: Lewis Overheat (each will bring their own brown bag lunch)
19 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive 269-6706
at 5 pm
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                    Carry-in Meal       
26 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr, 22802     564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in Meal  

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                            July 2018

LOVE—It’s What Makes a Human Being A Human Being       
- Harvey Yoder

A child's "failure to thrive" and even survive can be the result not only of genetic or medical conditions, but to a lack of nurturing relationships with loving caregivers. To be loved, held, touched, embraced, and interacted with from infancy is vital to a child's healthy development, and to his or her ability to grow up being able to love and care for others.

In understaffed orphanages in war-ravaged Europe in the last century, children who were kept in cribs, where they may have been routinely fed and diapered but provided little else, grew up being unable to talk, walk or care for themselves, demonstrating that it takes loving interactions with human beings to produce thriving human beings. And many of these children simply died.

As we grow into adulthood, we continue to need God-given love in a network of caring relationships in order to maintain good emotional and physical health. In an age of communicating through texts and experiencing fewer than ever close bonds with others, I'm concerned about increased incidents of depression, anxiety disorders and even suicide.

Our local RISE congregation has as one of its mantras "Receive Love. Give Love. Repeat." That pretty much sums up what makes us healthy and happy children of God. Without it, we find ourselves seeking every substitute possible to fill up the hole in our soul, and then wonder why we are left with a sense of loneliness and despair.


Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • VIRGINIA MENNONITE CONFERENCE ASSEMBLY meets at the Calvary Community Church in Hampton, Virginia July 19-21.
  • OUR CONTINUED PRAYERS for Guy and Margie Vlasits as they get things ready to move into their new house near Keezletown.
  • JULY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Lois Rivera-Wenger, July 30!

July Lectionary Texts
1   Lamentations 3:22-33, Psalm 30,  2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Mark 5:21-43
8  2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, Psalm 48, Ezekiel 2:1-5,  2 Corinthians 12:2-10 Mark 6:1-13
15 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19, Psalm 24, Amos 7:7-15, Ephesians 1:3-14,    
            Mark 6:14-29
22  2 Samuel 7:1-14a, Psalm 89:20-37, Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ephesians     
            2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
29  2 Samuel 11:1-15, Psalm 145:10-18, Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6:1-21

July services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm
1 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                    light salad/fresh fruit meal
8 Location: Virginia Mennonite Conference Center                    432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder                                   
Bible Study: Clyde Kratz, VMC Executive Minister     (No evening meal)                                    
15 Location: Guy and Margie Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive       269-6706
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                    Carry-in Meal       
22 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder                                           
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in Meal               
29 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer                                  
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                Finger Food Meal

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 2018 newsletter


House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                           June 2018

Seven Signs We May Need To Have Our Hearts Examined                                           - Harvey Yoder                
                                                                                                 
Here are just aa few heart symptoms that may indicate some need for coronary repair:

1. When we cling to our positions of privilege and power in spite of the suffering of masses of people in the world.

2. When we invest more in lawn care than we do in care for others in need.

3. When in the name of "national defense"we justify the intentional slaughter of human beings and the destruction of homes, property, and natural resources.

4. When we hear about people dying from opioid overdoses and think, "They're just getting what they deserve."

5. When our guest lists and our circle of friends include mostly people much like ourselves, and exclude people of other races, ethnicities and faiths.

6. When we claim to worship Jesus but do not strive to actually live like Jesus.

7. When we can drive by a jail or prison and not feel the slightest compassion for the fellow human beings kept in such places for years on end.

What other examples come to your mind?

Notes, Prayers and Praises
  • OUR SPECIAL PRAYERS for Margie Vlasits, undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and for Dick Dumas, set to have a biopsy due to swollen lymph nodes.
  • OUR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP COVENANT SERVICE was held Sunday, May 20, in which we agree to the following: “I support the goals, vision and faith of Family of Hope, will attend weekly services as regularly as I am able, and will use my gifts and offer my encouragement to this church family to the best of my ability. I invite other members to support me--and to confront me as needed--in being faithful to this commitment.”
  • JUNE BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Josiah Dumas 6/9, Isaiah May, 6/27 and Harvey Yoder 6/30!
June Lectionary Texts

3   Deuteronomy 5:12-15  Psalm 8   2 Corinthians 4:5-12   Mark 2:23-3:6
10 Genesis 3:8-15  Psalm 130   2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1  Mark 3:20-35
17  Psalm 20 Ezekiel 17:22-24  2 Corinthians 5:6-17  Mark 4:26-34
24  Psalm 133 Job 38:1-11  2 Corinthians 6:1-1  Mark 4:35-41

June services, worship at 4, meal at 6 pm

3 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                    light salad/fresh fruit meal
10 Location: Guy and Margie Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive       269-6706
Worship and Sharing: Lois Wenger
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                       Carry-in Meal       
17 Location: Lois Rivera-Wenger 204 Homes Lane, Staunton, VA         502-663-3195               
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                       Picnic Meal                                                                                                   
24 Location: FLRC, 273 Newman Ave. (ground floor)               432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                   
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                Finger Food Meal