Saturday, April 23, 2011

May 2011 Newsletter

Family of Hope House Church                                           May 2011

May services    worship at 4 pm, meal at 6 (except 5/29)

Easter to Pentecost Study Theme: “Pure and Simple, The Church of God’s Dream”               
1 Location: Paul and Bertha Swarr 1260 Parkway Dr 22802          434-2607
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: “From Genesis to Revelation, Church at the Center of God’s Mission” Paul Swarr                                                         
Carry-in Meal

8 Location: Rachel Stoltzfus  1359 TwoPenny Drive 22802           433-3983
Worship and Sharing: James and Ruth Stauffer                                 
“From Simple House Churches to Emperor Constantine’s Cathedrals--A Three Hundred Year Revolution” Harvey Yoder                   Carry-in Meal

15 Location: Family Life Resource Center (with invited guests)
Two-hour study: “From Dream to Reality-- Growing Churches Organically” Phil Kniss, pastor of Park View Mennonite Church
Pizza Meal

22 Location: Susan Campbell 1361 Lincolnshire Dr 22802          564-1524
Worship and Sharing: Susan Campbell
Bible Study: “From Shenandoah to Saigon and Home Again--How the Church has Nurtured and Sustained Us” James and Ruth Stauffer
Carry-in Meal

29 Worship at 10 am with the “Early Church” at  Our Community Place, 17 E. Johnson Street, followed by Q & A with Pastor Ron Copeland and a 12:30 noon meal (optional)

Notes, prayers and praises

 * “PURE AND SIMPLE--THE CHURCH OF GOD’S DREAM” will be the theme of our Bible studies from Easter through Pentecost.

 * BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS to Margie Vlasits 5/1 & Alma Jean Yoder 5/15!

 * NEIL AND ELLY NELSON now  live at 338 S. College Ave.    246-9218

 * FAMILY OF HOPE’S NEW BLOG SITE has updated newsletter and other information at <>.

May Lectionary Readings:

5/1:   Psalm 16, Acts 2:14a, 22-32, John 20:19-31, 1 Peter 1:3-9
5/8:   Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19, Acts 2:14a, 36-41, Luke 24:13-35, 1 Peter 1:17-23
5/15: Psalm 23. Acts 2:42-47, 1 Peter 2:19-25, John 10:1-10
5/22: Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16, Acts 7:55-60, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14
5/29: Psalm 66:8-20, Acts 17:22-31, John 14:15-21, 1 Peter 3:13-22

Church, Simple and Sustainable         Harvey Yoder

When I tell people I’m part of a house church, I often get a puzzled look. They can see cell groups meeting in homes, but how can you be a real congregation and not meet in some kind of church building?

   Yet for the first centuries after Pentecost, nearly all Christians met in homes for their worship and Eucharist meals. Most of the New Testament letters are addressed to such home-based congregations all over the Roman empire. With no pipe organs, pulpits, pews, or paid clergy, believers regularly gathered in the living rooms or courtyards of one of their members to share “a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation of a tongue” for the building up of the church. (1)

   Since there were no “Sundays” set aside for such gatherings, Christians often met either early in the morning or at the end of an ordinary work day for apostolic teaching, fellowship and the “breaking of bread.” An example of one such service found in Acts describes a group of believers meeting by lamplight in an upstairs room--on the evening of the “first day of the week.” (2)

   By the second century AD some congregations had renovated houses or “basilicas” as special places for worship, and by the time the Emperor Constantine officially endorsed Christianity in the fourth century, modest houses of worship had become relatively common in many urban areas. Then Constantine himself launched a gigantic campaign of building elaborate and expensive edifices for Christian worship all over the empire, efforts that earned him widespread popularity and acclaim.

   The rest, as they say, is history.

   I don’t oppose the idea of church buildings as such, and I actually enjoy pipe organs. And I don’t believe that homes are the only proper settings for worship. But since there is an actual surplus of empty pews in our community, I’d at least like to see a moratorium on investing ever more money in church real estate in favor of other creative options for worship spaces, such as churches sharing facilities (meeting at different times of the day) or utilizing other existing meeting places in the community.     

   And then to invest some of the millions of dollars saved in projects like building Habitat for Humanity homes for the poor or feeding the hungry.

   That would send the kind of message even a skeptic could understand.
                                                                     (1) I Corinthians 14:26  (2) Acts 20:7-17

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