Saturday, April 29, 2017

May 2017 newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                                 May 2017

Are We Heading Toward Armageddon?

Among the few books we had in our family library at home was one on the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, billed as the greatest and most reliable ocean liner ever. I remember how horrified I was reading about the fate of all the people who wined and dined together in high style on that voyage, oblivious to the disaster that awaited them.
     In a similar way we may find ourselves lulled into believing that our national ship of state, the now aging republic known as the United States of America, will endure forever. We are promised it will not only manage to avoid any future decline or disaster (of the kind that all empires of the past have experienced) but will gain ever increasing greatness.
     Thus in spite of the fact that both scripture and history tell us differently, we continue to trust in our broken economic and political system as though there were no tomorrow, or that our every tomorrow will be just like the present.
     In his book "Rewilding the Way", Todd Wynward quotes from the Dark Mountain Project, a group of artists and writers who take a contrasting view of where things are headed: 

"Human civilization... is built on little more than belief: belief in the rightness of its values; belief in the strength of its system of law and order; belief in its currency; above all, perhaps, belief in its future. We live in an age in which familiar restraints are being kicked away, and foundations snatched from under us... A similar human story is being played out. It is the story of empire eroding from within us. It is the story of a people who believed, for a long time, that their actions did not have consequences. It is the story of how that people will cope with the crumbling of their own myths. It is our story."
                                                                                          - Harvey Yoder

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • RACHEL STOLTZFUS will be staying with her son and daughter-in-law here in our area May 3-12!
  • GUY VLASITS is doing some disaster relief work in North Carolina May 3-10.
  • FAMILY LIFE RESOURCE CENTER will have its 30th Anniversary Dinner at Park View Mennonite at 5:30 pm Saturday, May 6.
  • MAY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Margie Vlastis 5/1, Alma Jean Yoder 5/15 and Karen Soich 5/20!
May lectionary readings

7    Acts 2:42-47  Psalm 23 1 Peter 2:19-25  John 10:1-10
14  Acts 7:55-60  Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16  1 Peter 2:2-10  John 14:1-14
21  Acts 17:22-31  Psalm 66:8-20  1 Peter 3:13-22  John 14:15-21
28  Acts 1:1-11  Psalm 47  Ephesians 1:15-23  Luke 24:44-53

May services, worship at 4, meal at 6

7 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder 
Bible Study: James Stauffer                                Sandwich and fresh fruit meal                                                 

14 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive, H’burg             269-6706   
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                      Carry-in meal
                                   
21 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave   432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                Finger foods meal
                                                                                             
28 Location: Lois Rivera-Wenger 204 Homes Lane, Staunton                                                                Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger                        502-663-3195         
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                            Picnic Meal

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

April 2017 newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                            April 2017

Should we continue using lectionary texts?

There have been questions raised about whether or why we should be following the lectionary texts. They are selections of scriptures that are used by many churches all over the world, but I can see where some may feel unduly bound by them, although we've never intended them to be other than the following:

* A way of making sure we don't just pick our favorite passages from the Bible and ignore other parts that we may not be as drawn to.
  
* A way of providing balance between an emphasis on Old Testament and New Testament texts.

* A way of sharing with each other, and with believers everywhere, a common focus for our learning and sharing.

Having said that, we don't expect those who lead our studies to feel confined to these texts, any more that we would expect a Sunday School teacher to only follow the prescribed lesson in a S.S. quarterly. Every person has the right to go in whatever direction they feel led. 

If we decide together to chose other selected book studies from the Bible, or to simply let each teacher select topics of their own choosing, we can certainly do so. Meanwhile, it does seem good to encourage everyone to be reading and studying some of the same scriptures beforehand and to be prepared to bring their insights to add for the benefit of all.

Tell me what you think.
                                                                                          - Harvey Yoder
Notes, prayers and praises 
  • WE INVITE EVERYONE to a time of special prayer and fasting during this season of Lent.
  • JOIN IN A NOON GOOD FRIDAY WALK April 14, starting at Blessed Sacrament Church and ending at St. Stephens UCC.
  • APRIL BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Bertha Swarr 4/13 and Cathy Atwell 4/19 (Sorry, we missed noting Ruth Stauffer’s on March 28!).

April lectionary readings
2   Ezekiel 37:1-14   Psalm 130  Romans 8:6-11  John 11:1-45
9   Isaiah 50:4-9a  Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29  Matthew 21:1-11;  27:11-54 
16 Jeremiah 31:1-9 Colossians 3:1-4  Acts 10:34-43  Luke 24:13-35
23 Acts 2:14a, 22-32  Psalm 16 1 Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31
30 Acts 2:36-41  Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19  1 Peter 1:17-23 Matthew 28

April services, worship at 4, meal at 6
2 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Paul Swarr
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder        Light meal of sandwiches and fresh fruit                                                    
9 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave     432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Lewis Overholt                                         Finger foods meal
                                    
16 Easter Service Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive, H’burg     269-6706   
Worship and Study: Jeremiah 31:1-9 & Colossians 3:1-4; James and Ruth 
Stauffer; Luke 24:13-35, Guy Vlasits; Acts 10:34-43, Dick Dumas
                                                                                               Carry-in meal
23 Location: Virginia Mennonite Conference Center
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Ken Horst, Virginia Mennonite Missions    Soup only meal

30 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave     432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                        
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                 Finger foods meal

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 2017 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                              March 2017

Pray Globally, Act Locally 

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-4 (NRSV)

Love compels us to respectfully and humbly show all high officials what the Word of God commands them, how they should rightfully execute their office to the glory and praise of God... to punish the transgressors and protect the good; to judge rightly between a man and his fellows; to do justice to the widows and orphans and to the poor, to rule cities and countries justly by a good policy and administration, not contrary to God’s Word but to the benefit of all people.
- Menno Simons

Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;

look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.

Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts; 
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
- unknown

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • WE INVITE MEMBERS to join in a time of special prayer and fasting for the congregation, the church at large and the nation during this season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1.
  • WE WILL HAVE A LENTEN COMMUNION SERVICE Sunday, March 12, with a bread, cheese and grape juice only meal.
  • CORRECTIONS TO FOH DIRECTORY: James and Ruth Stauffer’s phone is 564-3716. Josiah Dumas’s new address is  45134 Water-pointe Terrace, Apt. 202, Ashburn, VA 20147  (571-577-0144)

March lectionary readings

5   Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7  Psalm 32  Romans 5:12-19  Matthew 4:1-11
12 Genesis 12:1-4a Psalm 121  Romans 4:1-5, 13-17  John 3:1-17
19 Exodus 17:1-7  Psalm 95  Romans 5:1-11  John 4:5-42
26 Isaiah 7:10-14   Psalm 40:5-10  Hebrews 10:4-10  Luke 1:26-38

March services, worship at 4, meal at 6

5 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                   Soup Only Meal (provided)                                                         

12 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave    432-0531
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder        
                       Communion meal (bread, cheese and grape juice provided)

19 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive, H’burg 22802  269-6706   
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Dick Dumas                                                     Carry-in Meal

26 Location: 4:30 service with the Table, 110 Old South High Street
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder             
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                                      Carry-in Meal   

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February 2017 newsletter

House-to-House
 Family of Hope House Church                              February 2017

Psalm 99: Judgment and Hope For An Uncertain Future

The Lord reigns; let the people tremble: he sits between the cherubim; let the earth be moved.

The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.

Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.

The king loves judgment, establishes equity, executes judgment and righteousness in Jacob.

Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at God’s footstool; for God is holy.

Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and God answered them.

God spoke to them in the cloudy pillar: they kept God’s testimonies, and the ordinance God gave them.

You answered them, O Lord our God: you were a God who forgave them, though God took vengeance on their misdeeds.

Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at God’s holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.

(This is an adaptation of the King James version of Psalm 99, the alternate lectionary psalm listed for February 5)

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • PARK PLACE will be our tentative meeting site for the first Sunday of each month on a trial basis. Enter the main door, take the first hall to the right to the elevator, go to the second floor and look for the meeting room nearby with a piano. 
  • OUR CONDOLENCES TO LOIS RIVERA-WENGER, whose next older brother Donald passed away January 15 after a lingering illness. Lois attended the memorial service in Waterloo, Ontario, later that week with other family members.
  • CORRECTIONS TO FOH DIRECTORY: James and Ruth Stauffer’s phone is 564-3716. Josiah Dumas’s new address is  45134 Water-pointe Terrace, Apt. 202, Ashburn, VA 20147  (571-577-0144)
  • DARYL VAN DONK is now with Guy Vlasits at 1260 Parkway Drive.

February lectionary readings
5   Isaiah 58:1-12)  Psalm 112:1-10  1 Corinthians 2:1-16 
Matthew 5:13-20
12  Deuteronomy 30:15-20  Psalm 119:1-8  1 Corinthians 3:1-9 Matthew 5:21-37
19 Leviticus 19:1-18  Psalm 119:33-40  1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23  Matthew 5:38-48
26 Exodus 24:12-18  Psalm 2   2 Peter 1:16-21 Matthew 17:1-9

February services, worship at 4, meal at 6
5 Location: Park Place, second floor meeting room                   564-3716
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                   Soup Only Meal (provided)                                         
12 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive, H’burg 22802  269-6706   
Worship and Sharing: Guy Vlasits
Bible Study: Dick Dumas   Carry-in Meal 

19 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave    432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Elly Nelson                                  Simple Finger Foods Meal  
                      
26 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Lois Wenger
Bible Study: Art Stoltzfus (Faith in Action)                         Carry-in Meal

Friday, January 6, 2017

January 2017 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church        January 2017

If you want
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy,and say,

“I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.”

Then, under the roof of your soul
you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ
taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yet there, under the dome of your being does creation
come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim—
the sacred womb in your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help;
for each of us is
His beloved servant
never far.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking
down the street pregnant
with Light and sing …

–St. John of the Cross, “If You Want” in Daniel Ladinsky Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (New York: Penguin Group, 2002), 306-307.

Notes, prayers and praises 
  • JANUARY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to James Stauffer 1/8, Susan      Campbell 1/17,  Becky Morlan 1/28, Dick Dumas 1/30! 
  • JAMES AND RUTH STAUFFER are moving around the middle of January to Room 322 at VMRC’s Park Place 1285 Shank Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 (574-3716). We deeply appreciate the many years of hospitality they have provided for our church meetings.
  • GUY VLASITS has moved to 1260 Parkway Drive (formerly occupied by Paul and Bertha Swarr). HIs phone number is the same, 269-6706.
  • DARYL VAN DONK is planning to move in with Guy later this month.
January lectionary readings

1   Isaiah 63:7-9  Psalm 148  Hebrews 2:10-18  Matthew 2:13-23 
8   Isaiah 42:1-9  Psalm 29  Acts 10:34-43  Matthew 3:13-17
15 Isaiah 49:1-7  Psalm 40:1-11  1 Corinthians 1:1-9  John 1:29-42
22 Isaiah 9:1-4  Psalm 27:1, 4-9  1 Corinthians 1:10-18  Matthew 4:12-23
29 Micah 6:1-8  Psalm 15  1 Corinthians 1:18-31  Matthew 5:1-12

January services, worship at 4, meal at 6
1 Location: James & Ruth Stauffer 1250 Parkway Dr. 22802    574-6141
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Paul Swarr                                                        Carry-in Meal                                                          
8 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave      432-0531
Worship and Sharing: James Stauffer
Bible Study: Roy Hange                                                Finger Foods Meal                         
15 Location: Guy Vlasits 1260 Parkway Drive, H’burg 22802  269-6706   
Worship and Sharing: Lois Wenger
Bible Study: Elly Nelson   Carry-in Meal
22 Location: Family Life Resource Center 273 Newman Ave    432-0531
Worship and Communion c/o Harvey Yoder
Annual Business Meeting    Bread, cheese and grape juice meal (provided)                                                                         
29 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Drive 22802  564-1524 
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell                                            

Bible Study: Harvey Yoder                                                   Carry-in Meal

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