Sunday, December 4, 2016

December 2016 newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                 December 2016

At Christmas, we welcome the sojourner

My father Ben and mother Mary had been married less than four months when they made a 200-mile move in a horse drawn covered wagon from my father’s home area in Oklahoma to the rural community of my mother’s birth in Kansas. 
Against the advice of some of their elders, my parents, young and a little foolish, set the first day of winter, December 21, 1925, as their departure date.  All went well until the day after Christmas, when it became extremely cold. Unknown to them the temperature had dropped to 10 degrees below on that Sunday morning as they headed north into a stiff prairie wind. 
My father closed the front of the wagon to keep it warmer for his young bride, and he got out and walked with the team to keep them moving and to try to stay warm in the bitter cold. My mother’s feet and my Dad’s ears and fingers became frostbitten before they finally reached the farm house of relatives where they stayed for the night.
This story about Ben and Mary reminds me of some of the reality of the first Christmas. Another young couple, Joseph and Mary, embark on a journey of also about a week’s length, in less extreme weather but without benefit of a team and wagon. 
Scenes depicting their journey portray Mary as a young woman with a halo, serene, pregnant and riding a donkey. But in reality, the virgin mother may have been a young and exhausted teenager, and perhaps had to travel on foot. And upon arriving in Bethlehem the refugee couple face chilling rejection and No Vacancy signs instead of finding rest and welcome in their time of need.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the couple is then forced to undertake another journey, to find temporary safe haven in Egypt. 
Thus Christmas is a story about homeless and travel weary asylum seekers. It is about a God who seeks refuge and welcome even today in an inhospitable world.                                                       - Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • DECEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Karen Campbell 12/26!
  • BLESSINGS ON PAUL AND BERTHA SWARR, whose new address is 1285 Shank Drive,  #214, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. Paul is at Park Place and Bertha at Woodland Park. Their new phone number is 540-564-3707.
  • RACHEL STOLTZFUS is recovering well at her home at 6516 Lone Oak Ct., Bethesda, MD 20814 (301-841-3441). 
  • KARLA MAY is now in Room 43A at Grant Memorial Hospital, 117 Hospital Drive, Petersburg, WV 26847. She continues to appreciate our prayers. 
  • PRAY FOR MARGIE VLASITS as she undergoes treatment for her cancer.
  • FOH will not be meeting on Christmas Day.
December Lectionary readings
4   Isaiah 11:1-10  Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19  Romans 15:4-13 Matthew 3:1-12
11  Isaiah 35:1-10 Psalm 146:5-10  Luke 1:46b-55 James 5:7-10 Matthew 11:2-11 
18 Isaiah 7:10-16  Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19  Romans 1:1-7  Matthew 1:18-25
25 Isaiah 9:2-7  Psalm 96  Titus 2:11-15  Luke 2:1-20 Hebrews 1:1-12 John 1:1-14

December services worship at 4, meal at 6 
4 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141 
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                                            
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                 Carry-in Meal                             
11 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave  432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson
Bible Study: James Stauffer                                          Finger Foods Meal
18 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                        
Bible Study: Dick Dumas (texts from 18 & 25 readings) Carry-in Meal                

25 No FOH service on Christmas Day

Monday, October 31, 2016

November 2016 newletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                  November 2016

An Election Reflection                 - Harvey Yoder                  

We’ve heard a lot about how all-important the US presidential race is this year, as though the very survival of civilization depended on it. I agree that the stakes are high, and that the question of how or whether we cast the one vote each of has deserves prayerful thought (even though it will not likely, by itself, determine the outcome!). But let’s put the election in perspective. 

First, it’s good to remember that the United States is only one of 230 nations in the world, and that it represents a mere 5% of the world's people. In the Bible national governments are of minor consequence in God’s worldwide, eternal kingdom.

Second, we need to remind ourselves that a US president is the chief presider of only one of three branches of a federal government, and that the judicial and legislative branches are equally deserving of prayer and concern. This three-part federal system, in turn, shares power with 50 states and commonwealths, each made up of county and municipal governments, and each responsible to the people. In other words, we are electing a presider of one branch of one part of a democratic republic, not choosing a monarch or dictator over a kingdom of mere subjects. 

Third, each president's four-year term is only 1.7% of this nation's relatively brief 240-year history (which in turn represents only 5% of the total history of the world since the time of Abraham and Sarah).

So we would do well to gain a humbler opinion of our importance, while respecting others' ways of thinking and living elsewhere in God’s world. Nationalistic pride would have us imagine ourselves, our culture, and our political contests to be the most important on the planet.

 Notes, prayers and praises 
  • NOVEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Neal Nelson 11/2, Rachel Stoltzfus 11/5, Paul Swarr 11/10, Emily Zhou 11/11, and Guy Vlasits 11/21. Neal and Elly Nelson’s 25th anniversary is November 26!
  • KAREN CAMPBELL is home from the hospital and is staying at her sister Susan’s. Welcome home!
  • PRAY FOR JOSIAH AND ISAIAH MAY, who are currently in foster care, and for their grieving grandparents, Billy and Karla May, who have significant health problems.
  • RACHEL STOLTZFUS suffered a bad fall recently and is in a rehab facility at Room 132, Carriage Hill Bethesda, 5215 West Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814 (301-841-3441). She thanks for our prayers.
  • KARLA MAY is in Rm. 60 at the Grant Memorial Hospital, 117 Hospital Drive, Petersburg, WV 26847, and may have to be there for some time due to an infection in her leg.
  • PRAY FOR MARGIE VLASITS as she has procedures done to remove a spot on her lung and to treat or remove another on her spine. Her doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis, for which we are grateful!
  • FOH will be attending the Festival of Praise service at EMHS November 6 at 4, followed by food and fellowship at the Stauffers. On the following Sunday, November 13, we will be joining the Table Fellowship at 4:30 at the Dean House, 110 Old South High Street.

November Lectionary readings
6  Haggai 1:15b-2:9  Psalm 98  Job 19:23-27a  2 Thessalonians 2:1-17  Luke 20:27-38
13  Isaiah 65:17-25  Isaiah 12   Malachi 4:1-2a  2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Luke 21:5-19
20 Jeremiah 23:1-6  Luke 1:68-79  Psalm 46   Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43
27 Advent Isaiah 2:1-5  Psalm 122  Romans 13:11-14  Matthew 24:36-44

November services worship at 4, meal at 6 
6 Location: Festival of Praise at EMHS at 4, followed by fellowship and meal James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802         574-6141                             
13 Location: meeting with the Table Fellowship at 4:30, followed by a carry-in meal 
20 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave  432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                              Finger Foods Meal
27 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder                                            
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                              Carry-in Thanksgiving Meal 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

October 2016 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church          October 2016

Raising Our GQ (Gratitude Quotient)                                    
We may all wish for more intelligence, but when it comes to living a truly good life, our IQ may be less important than our GQ. 

If we choose to live on the gratitude-deficit side of a GQ scale, we will likely experience some or all of the following:

- Seeing ourselves as victims with an unfair share of problems.
- Feeling down or depressed much of the time.
- Blaming others, being critical of others, seeing them as the source of  our problems.
- Feeling like the world owes us.

However, if we choose to live on the gratitude-rich side of the graph, we will experience more of the following:

- Seeing ourselves as privileged, with an undeserved share of blessings.
- Feeling positive and hopeful most of the time.
- Seeing others as fellow human beings worthy of our care and concern.
- Feeling indebted to God and to God's children around the world.

There may not be much we can do to improve our IQ, but living a life of gratitude is a choice we make every day. It's not that everything we experience in life will be good, but we will celebrate the good we can find in, around and through whatever a day brings.

We can respond as author Ann Vos camp did following tragedy after tragedy in her life. In her book “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare  to Live Fully Right Where You Are”, she invites us to journey with her in celebrating 1000 blessings, large and small, that we can discover and celebrate in our ordinary, everyday lives.                     -Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • OCTOBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Joyce Ulrich 10/14, and Elly Nelson 10/28!
  • LOIS RIVERA-WENGER is leaving for a two week trip October 12 to visit her daughter and family in Uganda. Pray for a safe trip!
  • DAVID WEAVER now lives in Room 214 in the Dogwood   neighborhood at Crestwood at VMRC. His cell number is 421-4504.
  • FOH will be joining the 10 am EMU event on October 16 in which     Harvey Yoder will be recognized as Alumnus of the Year. 
October Lectionary readings

2  Lamentations 1:1-6, 3:19-26  Psalm 137  2 Timothy 1:1-14  Luke      
     17:5-10
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7  Psalm 66:1-12  2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
    2 Timothy 2:8-15 Luke 17:11-19
16 Jeremiah 31:27-34 Genesis 32:22-31  Psalm 121  2 Timothy 3:14-4:5   
     Luke 18:1-8
23 Joel 2:23-32  Psalm 65;  84:1-7  2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 Luke 18:9-14
30 Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 Psalm 119:137-144  Isaiah 1:10-18  
     2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12  Luke 19:1-10

October services worship at 4, meal at 6 

2 Location: Lois Rivera-Wenger 204 Homes Ln Staunton  502-663-3195
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                        Meal provided by Lois!                                  
9 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802     574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr    Carry-in Meal 
16 Location: 10 am EMU Chapel Auditorium Alumni Service  432-0531
Noon meal provided at EMU for FOH member guests 
23 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in Meal           
30 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave   432-0531                   
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                                      

Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                            Finger Foods Meal

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 2016 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                  September 2016

Cease Fire                                     -Harvey Yoder

God is our refuge and strength
an ever present help in times of trouble…
God brings an end to war everywhere. 
God breaks bows into pieces, 
   snaps spears in two; 
   burns chariots in fire.
God cries, "Halt! Drop your weapons!
Acknowledge me as sovereign over all nations!”
- from Psalm 46 

We're accustomed to reading the words "Be still and know that I am God" in the above text as a call to quiet reflection. But it's clear from the context that it's really a command to pay attention to our commander-in-chief, to listen up and stop the bloody wars we're engaging in. 
     The Hebrew word still (“rapa") means to "let down" or "cease", to stop whatever we're doing.
     In today's troubled world, nothing could be more urgent than having all nations lay down their arms rather than investing in ever more deadly ways of producing death and destruction.
     Escalating conflicts set off by shock and awe invasions and iron-fisted dictatorships are exacting a terrible toll all over the Middle East, and it is the innocent who suffer most. In Syria alone there are 6.5 million internally displaced refugees, and over 4 million have fled to other countries. 
     The world simply can't afford war anymore. We must declare it over, no matter what that costs us.
     Because continuing on our present course, fighting evil with evil, will cost us even more, and result in unimaginable disaster.
     God says, "Be still! Stop!”  
     The whole world needs to listen.

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to David Weaver (9/23), and congratulations to Billy and Karla May on their anniversary (9/3).
  • EMILY VANDEVANDER has recently moved to an apartment of her own. Her phone number is 540-271-0853.
  • THE MENNONITE RELIEF SALE will be held at the Rockingham                Fair Grounds October 1-2.
  • NURTURING AND ENCOURAGING WOMEN, an organization focused on Ethiopia, will have a fund raising dinner at 5:30, Friday, September 6 at Lindale Mennonite Church. Call 432-9064 to register.
 September Lectionary readings

4   Jeremiah 18:1-11  Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18  Deuteronomy 30:15-20
     Philemon 1:1-21  Luke 14:25-33
11 Jeremiah 4:11-28  Psalm 14   Exodus 32:7-14  1 Timothy 1:12-17  
     Luke 15:1-10
18 Jeremiah 8:18-9:1  Psalm 79:1-9  Amos 8:4-7  1 Timothy 2:1-7
     Luke 16:1-13
25 Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15  Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16  Amos 6:1a, 4-7
    1 Timothy 6:6-19  Luke 16:19-31

September services worship at 4, meal at 6 

4 Location: Family Life Resource Center                                432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson                                      
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                              Finger Foods Meal
11 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder  
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                       Carry-in Meal 
18 Location: We meet with the Table fellowship at the Dean House, just across Water Street from the Community Mennonite Church, at 4:30 pm.             
25 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802 564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                 Carry-in Meal  

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 2016 Newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                    August 2016

On welcoming the stranger         - Harvey Yoder

Because of the fear of Communist infiltration the US turned away thousands of Jewish refugees in he 1930's and 40’s.

Today many Christians are fearful of taking in refugees from war-ravaged Syria for similar security reasons, ignoring what the Bible has to say about the subject, as follows:

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
- Deuteronomy12:17-19 NRSV

"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’"
- Matthew 25:34-36 NRSV 

"For he is our peace; in his body he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us."          
- Ephesians 2:14 NRSV 

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

- Hebrews 13:2-3 NRSV

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • AUGUST BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Gail Blackburn 8/30! Also, Alma Jean and Harvey’s anniversary is 8/8 and James and Ruth Stauffer’s is 8/30.   
  • FAITH IN ACTION congregations will be appealing to the City Council at 7 pm Tuesday, August 23, to become a part of Welcoming America, a program aimed at making our city more hospitable to newcomers. Your support and attendance are needed and appreciated.
August lectionary readings

7   Isaiah 1:1-20  Genesis 15:1-6 Psalm 33:12-22 Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 Luke 12:32-40
14 Isaiah 5:1-7  Jeremiah 23:23-29  Psalm 82  Hebrews 11:29-12:2
            Luke 12:49-56
21 Jeremiah 1:4-10 Isaiah 58:9b-14  Psalm 103:1-8 Hebrews 12:18-29 Luke 13:10-17
28 Jeremiah 2:4-13  Proverbs 25:6-7  Psalm 112  Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 Luke 14:1, 7-14

August services worship at 4, meal at 6 

7 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder  
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                     Carry-in Meal 
14 Location: Family Life Resource Center
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                      
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                            Finger Foods Meal 
21 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera Wenger                                        
Bible Study: James Stauffer                                                Carry-in Meal
28 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802 564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                 Carry-in Meal

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

July 2016 Newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                                  July 2016

Talk with them all                                                                    - Harvey Yoder

In light of the growing polarization I see everywhere I’ve been pondering some words spoken by the late Lee Eshleman almost a decade ago, as a part of an interview with fellow humorist Ted Swartz and WVPT’s Jenni Howard (for a documentary on area Mennonites):
     Lee: “Take whatever stereotype you have about Mennonites, and assume it may be true for a fraction of us, and not true for another fraction of us. Then talk to us one on one. And do that with everybody, everyone in the whole world.”
     Ted (incredulously): “You mean everyone?”
      Lee: “Yes, everyone. Talk with them all.”
     Of course we know that’s impossible, but the wisdom in Lee’s wit is that any generalization we make about any group--Mennonite, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, you name it--needs to be tempered and tentative until we have “talked with them all.”
     What if we took time for personal conversations with our recent immigrant neighbors, inviting them into our homes and learning to know them as real people? Or what if we took time to meet with any number of others in our community holding a wide range of views--varying from militant to peace-loving and everything in between--or with members of any race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation with whom we have few personal connections?
     I’m not suggesting we should agree with everyone who differs from us, or to compromise our own convictions to accommodate theirs. But we can at least learn to respect others and to show appreciation for the complexity and diversity within each person--and within each group of persons--on God’s good earth.
     So that's my new goal. Before making any hasty judgments about people with a given label, I’d like to first talk with them all.

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • JULY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Lois Rivera-Wenger 7/30!
  • VIRGINIA CONFERENCE ANNUAL ASSEMBLY will be at the Park View Mennonite Church July 21-23. Evening speakers are Drew Hart, author of Troubles I’ve Seen (7/21) and Patricia Shelly, moderator of MCUSA 7/22).  For more details see http://virginiaconference.org/assembly/.
  • WE WILL MEET WITH THE TABLE at the Dean House for their 4:30 service and carry-in meal July 17.
July Lectionary readings

3   2 Kings 5:1-14  Psalm 30  Isaiah 66:10-14  Galatians 6:1-16 
            Luke 10:1-20
10 Amos 7:7-17  Psalm 82  Deuteronomy 30:9-14  Colossians 1:1-14 Luke 10:25-37
17 Amos 8:1-12  Psalm 15  Genesis 18:1-10a  Colossians 1:15-28  
            Luke 10:38-42
24 Hosea 1:2-10  Psalm 138  Genesis 18:20-32  Colossians 2:6-19  Luke 11:1-13
31 Hosea 11:1-11  Ecclesiastes 1:2-14  Psalm 49  Colossians 3:1-11
             Luke 12:13-21

July services worship at 4, meal at 6 

3 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Lois Wenger   
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                      Carry-in Meal 

10 Location: Family Life Resource Center
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder                                       
Bible Study: Clyde Kratz  Conference Minister          Finger Foods Meal 

17 Location: The Dean House (with the Table)

24 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802 564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                     Carry-in Meal

31 Location: Family Life Resource Center 
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer                                           
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                  Carry-in Meal

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 2016 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                              June 2016

Psalm 146 and the politics of God

Campaign Rally Rallying Cry
Praise God!
All of us with united voice shout praise to God!

The Pledged Delegate Pledge
We pledge our allegiance to God as long as we live.
    We will proclaim God’s praises with every breath.
We will never place our confidence in other nation heads;
    We will never trust in them for help.
We know that when their brief time is over,
    that all their vain promises will evaporate with them.
But our full confidence is in God our commander-in-chief,
    our hope is in the Creator and Lord of all,
Lord of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them,
    who keeps every promise forever.

The Global God-Party Platform
Our God brings about justice for the oppressed,
    offers food for the hungry.
Our God frees prisoners
     opens the eyes of the blind.
Our God lifts up those who are downtrodden
    loves the godly and upright.
The Lord protects refugees and immigrants,
    cares for orphans and the homeless,
    but frustrates the plans of the wicked.

The Lord will reign forever
    and will remain faithful throughout all generations.
Praise God!

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • JUNE BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Sophie May, 6/2, Josiah Dumas 6/9, Karla May 6/16, Isaiah May, 6/27 and Harvey Yoder 6/30!
  • PRAY FOR BERTHA SWARR, who has returned home after a month of hospital and nursing home care. 
  • WE’RE GLAD TO HAVE LOIS WENGER back from Nashville! Her address is 204 Homes Lane, Staunton 24401.
  • WE’LL MISS KAREN SOICH, who has moved to 1383 Circle Hill Drive SE, North Canton, OH 44720. Her phone is 330-209-7916. 

June Lectionary readings

5   1 Kings 17:8-24  Psalm 146  Galatians 1:11-24  Luke 7:11-17
12 2 Samuel 11:26-12:10-15  Psalm 32  Galatians 2:15-21  Luke 7:36-8:3
19 1 Kings 19:1-15a  Psalm 42-43  Isaiah 65:1-9   Galatians 3:23-29 Luke 8:26-39
26  1 Kings 19:15-21  Psalm 16   Galatians 5:1, 13-25   Luke 9:51-62

June services worship at 4, meal at 6 

5 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr 22802   574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                       Carry-in Meal 

12 Location: Lois Rivera-Wenger 204 Homes Lane, Staunton 24401                                       
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson                                       502-663-3195
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                  Carry-in Meal
               
19 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave.  432-0531 
Worship and Sharing: Lois Wenger                                           
Bible Study: James Stauffer                                              Finger Foods Meal

26 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive, 22802 564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                   Carry-in Meal