Saturday, October 2, 2021

October 2021 newsletter

House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                       October 2021

Each of Us Carries Two Buckets

I often tell couples that the best marriages are those in which partners come together with their happiness buckets already full, eager to share their joy supply with each other. Too often people enter a relationship with empty buckets, expecting the other to provide an endless supply of whatever they need.

But metaphorically speaking, each of us carries two buckets, one a gratitude pail and the other a garbage pail.

The gratitude bucket is one we need to keep filled to overflowing with abundant and amazing grace, representing all of the unearned benefits that make us truly rich. It represents the part of our life where we find our yoke easy and our burden light, and from which we have a surplus of God-given, grace-based assets to share.

In our garbage bucket we carry our grievances, griefs, grudges and losses. These are not inconsequential, and are not to be ignored, but we want to carry them only as long as necessary to deposit them to a safe place for closure and healing. Garbage is viewed as something that needs to be taken out regularly for composting, while we practice the hygiene of regularly keeping its container as clean and flushed out as possible.

So when it comes to our relationships, we need to support each other in dealing with our distresses as well as blessing each other with our abundance.

I once ran across a letter a father wrote to his 13-year-old daughter when she was dealing with a crushing disappointment. He wrote, "...when momentary unhappiness befalls us, we pause only long enough to tidy up our hearts, and then we continue on wiser and better equipped for the much rougher road ahead."

She kept that note in her wallet for the rest of her life.                                                           

                                                                                                              -Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER IN-PERSON CHURCH SERVICE at the Vlasits home at 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown Sunday October 17. Otherwise we continue to meet online from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

KAREN CAMPBELL is no longer needing dialysis (praise God!) but remains at Harrisonburg Health and Rehabilitation Center, 1225 Reservoir Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, for the time being.She is to be fitted for a brace for her left foot, and remains in Rm. 86, . Her cell number is 540-209-2675. 

THE ‘MY COINS COUNT’ total we raised for the Relief Sale this year was $42.16, and our total giving for the SOS campaign for MCC refugee relief was just over $3000.

OCTOBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS Joyce Ulrich 10/14 and Elly Nelson 10/28!

October Lectionary Texts
3   God’s Name Is Revealed Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-15; 4:10-17 (John 8:58)
10 God Provides Manna Exodus 16:1-18 (John 6:51)
17  God Calls Samuel 1 Samuel 3:1-21 (John 20:21-23) 
24  God Calls David 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 51:10-14 (John 7:24)
31  Solomon’s Temple 1 Kings 5:1-5; 8:1-13 (John 2:19-21)

October Services, 4-5:30 pm 

3 Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Wenger
Bible Study: Kent Palmer
10 Location: on line
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder
17 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown 
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
24 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Roy Hange
31 Location: on line
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Monday, August 30, 2021

September 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                   September 2021

Obstacles to Raising Millions for Relief

     The Sharing Our Surplus (SOS) giving tent at the October 1-2 Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale is again expected to raise from $30-50,000 this year. But a community like ours could easily raise multiple millions without it causing us any actual hardship. So why is that kind of beyond-the-tithe outpouring of generosity not likely to happen? Here are four possible reasons:

1) Our Sense of Personal Entitlement

     It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to persuade people like us to voluntarily give up our power and privilege.  That doesn't mean that we can't be motivated to give more generously, but only as long as it doesn't diminish our assets or reduce what we have saved for a rainy day or for our retirement. And that level of giving on the part of wealthy North American and European Christians will never make more than a dent in world problems like hunger, disease and homelessness..

2) Our Competing Wants and "Needs"

     Most of us are exceedingly generous givers, but the bulk of our giving is done at Walmart, at the local mall, on Amazon, at gourmet restaurants, at local car dealerships and at travel locations near and far. And most of us have dreams of other future investments we want to make as soon as we have the means, a lakeside cabin, new living room furniture, an expansive renovation project, a wished for business venture, an RV for a retirement travel, etc., adding to our ever expanding wish lists.

3) Competing Appeals From Other Good Causes

     It's hard to generate relief funds from congregations investing millions for building programs or who are trying to pay down their debts on past capital projects. Church-related institutions are likewise forever adding to or renovating their facilities at levels that require millions of dollars. Compared to the needs of refugees living in tents in the heat of summer and in the cold of winter, appeals for air conditioning and other renovation and expansion needs promoted by our church-related institutions always seem to deserve the greater priority. And many have development departments that are into full time fundraising, something refugee communities don't have.

4) Lack of First Hand Awareness of Needs

     I have no doubt that if homeless refugee families were fleeing here from surrounding states and setting up makeshift shelters in nearby fields, that we would be mobilizing all possible resources to help them. Seeing real people by the thousands having to live in tents and relying on food and water brought in by outside aid groups would move us to a far different level of response. Or one night spent in such circumstances ourselves due to displacement and the loss of all of our possessions by flood, fire, war or some other disaster would completely change our perspective.                                             -Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER IN-PERSON CHURCH SERVICE at the Vlasits home at 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown Sunday September 19. Otherwise we continue to meet online from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

ALMA JEAN AND HARVEY’s auction sale raised over $3600 for MCC refugee relief, thanks to the help and support of many friends, neighbors and relatives. Their new address is 1540 Hawthorne Circle, Harrisonburg, VA 22802

KAREN CAMPBELL is at Harrisonburg Health and Rehabilitation Center, 1225 Reservoir Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, and her cell number is 540-209-2675. Please pray for her recovery and her safely in light of COVID cases there, KENT PALMER AND DONNA SACRA also appreciate our prayers for their continued healing.

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS Lewis Overholt (9/5) and David Weaver (9/23)!

LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT are returning from their trip to Germany September 2.

September Lectionary Texts

5    A new heaven and earth Revelation 21 and 22

12  Creation by the Word Genesis 1:1—2:4a  (John 1:1-5)

19  Binding of Isaac Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14 (John 1:29) 

26  Jacob’s Dream and God’s promise Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23; 28:10-17 (John 1:50-51) 


September Services, 4-5:30 pm 

5 Location: on line 

Worship and sharing: Lois Wenger

Bible Study: Kent Palmer

12 Location: on line

Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 

Bible Study: Harvey Yoder

19 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown 

Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt

Bible Study: Dick Dumas

26 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder

Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Saturday, July 31, 2021

August 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                      August 2021

Love Is The Opposite Of Death

The book, “Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and my Long Trek Home,” published by Three Rivers Press in 2006, is one of the most gripping I've read in a long time. In it Nando Parado describes the harrowing experience of being in a plane crash on a glacier in the Andes Mountains, 12,000 feet above sea level, where he was stranded, cut off from communication with the outside world, and given up for dead with other members and fans of his rugby team on their way to Chile.

Nando lost his mother and sister and other friends in that fateful accident and in the days that followed. After weeks of desperately trying to survive in the bitter cold, resorting to eating remains of frozen cadavers to avoid starvation, he and two other survivors resolved they must try to find their way back to civilization for help, in spite of the risk and their lack of sufficient food and adequate clothing.

After miles of desperate climbing they reached a western ridge they thought would finally give them a view of civilization, only to find that when they finally got there they could see only more mountains. 

He writes, “In that moment all my dreams, assumptions and expectations of life evaporated into the thin Andean air. I had always thought that life was the actual thing, the natural thing, and that death was simply the end of living. Now, in this lifeless place, I saw with terrible clarity that death was the constant, death was the base, and life was only a short, fragile dream. In my despair, I felt a sharp and sudden longing for the softness of my mother and my sister, and the strong embrace of my father... and in that clarity of mind I discovered a simple, astounding secret: Death has an opposite, but the opposite is not mere living. It is not courage or faith or human will. The opposite of death is love.....Only love can turn mere life into a miracle, and draw precious meaning from suffering and fear...”

Nando and his friend did manage to press on and to eventually make their way back to civilization, and a rescue team was able to go back for the remaining 14 survivors at the crash site.

-Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER IN-PERSON CHURCH SERVICE at the Vlasits home at 3399 Cavers Drive, Keezletown Sunday August 15. Otherwise we continue to meet online from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

ALMA JEAN AND HARVEY’s brother-in-law, Allan Shirk, died Saturday, July 31 at 4:25 am at a hospice care center at Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania. His memorial service will be Sunday afternoon, August 15 at the East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church.

KAREN CAMPBELL has been moved from the ICU to a regular room at the Winchester Medical Center, 1840 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601. Please pray for her recovery and her being able to return home soon. DONNA SACRA also appreciates our prayers for her complete healing.

THE YODERS' NEW ADDRESS is 1540 Hawthorne Circle, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. (previous house number was incorrect). They are planning for an auction of some of their things as a fundraiser for MCC at Hamlet Drive on the afternoon of August 21.

AUGUST BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS  to Kent Palmer, 8/10! Alma Jean and Harvey Yoder’s anniversary is August 8, and Jim and Ruth Stauffer’s is August 30. Blessings to all!

LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT are visiting their daughter and family in Germany during the month of August.

August Lectionary Texts

1    Ephesians 6:10-20(Matt 10:28-31) 

8    Revelation4:1-11; accompanying text: John 17:1-5 

15  Revelation 5:1-13; accompanying text: John 1:29-31 

22  Revelation 6:1-8; 7:9-17; accompanying text: John 14:1-4 

29  Revelation 13:1-18; accompanying text: John 12:30-32

August Services, 4-5:30 pm 

1 Location: on line 

Worship and sharing: Lois Wenger

Bible Study: Kent Palmer

8 Location:on line 

Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 

Bible Study: Harvey Yoder

15 Location: on line

Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer

Bible Study: Dick Dumas

22 Location: on line 

Worship and Sharing: Guy Vlasits

Bible Study: Elly Nelson

29 Location: on line

Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer

Bible Study: Harvey Yoder

Thursday, July 1, 2021

July 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

Family of Hope House Church                      _     July 2021

Living by the Values of the Future   

I heard George Brunk III, former dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary, once say, “Our faith is not so much about preserving values from the past as it is about living out the values of the future.” 

In other words, we’re not simply to resist change and hold on to our heritage, good as that may be, but we’re called to radically demonstrate a way of life here and now that has never been, except perhaps in the Garden of Eden. 

As a people of God, we are to be an advertisement about what the future will be like when God is fully sovereign, when God’s will will be done on earth as it already is being done in heaven. We are to be a people who refuse to wait, and who are already living by the rules of the forever future, when people everywhere will live by the prophet Isaiah’s vision in the Bible and will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” and will “study war no more.” 

In the age to come “the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child shall lead them.” and “they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.” 

That’s a future we can all live with, and one we’re being enlisted now to join in becoming an Exhibit A, a showcase of what God’s forever world will inevitably be like. If we believe that, live with that gleam in our eye, everything about our life now will change.

                                                                                   - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER IN-PERSON CHURCH SERVICE at the Vlasits home at 3399 Cavers Drive, Keezletown Sunday July 11. Otherwise we continue to meet online from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

PRAY FOR ALMA JEAN AND HARVEY  as they plan to move to 1540 Hawthorne Drive at VMRC’s Park Village sometime at the end of July.

JULY BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS  to Lois Rivera-Wenger 7/30!

LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT plan to spend the month of August in Germany with their daughter and husband.

WE PRAY HEALING BLESSINGS for Cathy Atwell, Kent Palmer, Donna Sacra and for others dealing with stressful health issues.

July Lectionary Texts

4    Jeremiah 33:14-18; 31:31-34 Messiah and New Covenant 

11  Ephesians 1:1-22 (John 14:25-27) Power and Glory

18  Ephesians 2:1-22 (Matt 28:16-20) Death And Resurrection

25  Ephesians 4:1-16 (John 15:1-4) One in the Spirit and One in Faith

July Services, 4-5:30 pm 

4 Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Wenger
Bible Study: Kent Palmer

11 Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder

18 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

25 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: 

Friday, May 28, 2021

June 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                          June 2021

Staying Awake Is Hard To Do   

"But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!” 

                            - Ken Peterson, Romans 13:11ff THE MESSAGE  

Among the few books we had in our family library at home was one on the April 14, 1912, sinking of the Titanic, billed as the finest 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 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.

Followers of Jesus know better.

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE WILL HAVE AN OUTDOOR CHURCH SERVICE at the Vlasits home at 3399 Cavers Drive, Keezletown Sunday June 6. Otherwise we continue to meet online from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

OUR CONDOLENCES AND PRAYERS  for Ruth Stauffer in the recent loss of her sister, Martha Bowman, and for Donna Sacra in the loss of her mother, Anna Mae Crist. Also pray for complete healing for Donna as she faces an upcoming biopsy of some suspicious tumors in her breast.

WE PLAN TO USE THE NARRATIVE LECTIONARY TEXTS through this summer, a series of book studies as follows: May30-July 4, Jeremiah; July 11-August 1, Ephesians; and August 8-September 5, Revelation. We start with "Jeremiah, A Prophet For Distressing Times."

JUNE BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS  to Josiah Dumas 6/9, and Harvey Yoder 6/30!

June Lectionary Texts

6    Jeremiah 18:1-11 Potter and the Clay 
13  Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-31 Scroll Burned and Rewritten
20  Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14 Letter to the Exiles
27 Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 Planting and Building

June Services, 4-5:30 pm 

6  Location: Guy & Margie Vlasits 3399 Caverns Drive, Keezletown 
Worship and sharing: Elly Nelson
Bible Study: Kent Palmer
13 Location: on line
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt 
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
20 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder
27 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Saturday, May 1, 2021

May 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House
Family of Hope House Church                           May 2021

For Family of Hope Covenanting Sunday

Our Vision (who we are)

  “God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as a community of grace, joy and peace, so  that God’s healing and hope may flow though us to the world.”

Our Mission (what we are about)

“We meet weekly to seek guidance from Scripture and to find encouragement and direction from our worship and fellowship together in order to more effectively bring about God’s shalom and healing in our church family and in the communities in which we live and work.”

Our Personal Covenant (what we each commit ourselves to)

"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.”

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

OUR ANNUAL COVENANTING SERVICE, with a celebration of communion, is set for Pentecost Sunday May 23. Each will provide their own bread and grape juice

WE PLAN TO USE THE NARRATIVE LECTIONARY TEXTS through this summer, a series of book studies as follows: May30-July 4, Jeremiah; July 11-August 1, Ephesians; and August 8-September 5, Revelation. 

BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS  to Mary Ellen Overholt, 4/5 (belated!), Margie Vlasits, 5/1, and Alma Jean Yoder 5/15!

May Lectionary Texts

2  Fifth Sunday of Easter Acts 15:1-18  Luke 2:29-32
9  Sixth Sunday of Easter Galatians 1:13-17; 2:11-21  Luke 18:9-14
16 Seventh Sunday of Easter Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29  Luke 1:68-79
23 Pentecost Sunday Acts 2:1-4; Galatians 4:1-7 5:16-26 Luke 11:11-13
30 O.T. Book Study Jeremiah 1:1-10; 7:1-11 

May Services, 4-5:30 pm 

2  Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Bible Study: Kent Palmer
9 Location: on line Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
16 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Guy Vlasits
Bible Study: Roy Hange
23 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Lewis Overholt
Covenanting and Communion: Harvey Yoder
30 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Harvey Yoder
Bible Study: Elly Nelson

Saturday, March 27, 2021

April 2021 newsletter

 House-to-House

 Family of Hope House Church                       April 2021

A Parable For Good Friday and Easter

I first saw the short film “Parable," when I showed it many years ago when I taught Bible courses at Eastern Mennonite High School. It was produced by the Lutheran Council of New York and was widely viewed at the Protestant Pavilion at the New York World's Fair in1964. 

Directed by Rolf Forsberg, the film was highly controversial at first in that the Christ-figure in it is introduced as a silent, white-robed and chalk-faced clown riding a donkey, quietly trailing an elaborate and noisy circus procession coming into town. This Christ is then shown moving among the abused members of the circus crew, where he reaches out to them and rescues many of them in the oppressed state they are in under the rule of Magnus, the circus director and a puppeteer who strings up human beings as living marionettes and in other ways literally controls their lives. 

The Christ figure in the Parable (Clarence Mitchell) is then cruelly murdered by Magnus after his circus enterprise is totally disrupted by his workers finding freedom from the domination under which they lived. In the end, a repentant Magnus smears his own face with white paint and rides the clown's donkey behind the circus parade as it leaves town. 

Here's a link if you want to view this sometime over Good Friday and Easter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHIIlv1NiPc                                         - Harvey Yoder

Notes, Prayers and Praises

WE CONTINUE TO MEET ONLINE from 4-5:30. For a phone connection dial 646-876-9923. For video:  https://zoom.us/j/2849269967.

“DEAR FAMILY OF HOPE MEMBERS, I want to take a moment to express my thanks for the money you gave me for the purchase of my car. I am deeply touched by your kindness and generosity. Thank you so much.”                                                                       - Emily Vandevander

LEWIS AND MARY ELLEN OVERHOLT plan to be in Florida the first three weeks of April. Pray for safe travels and a blessed time with family members.

WE INVITE YOUR SUGGESTIONS for Bible books or themes for our future Bible studies. For April we will continue to list texts from the Narrative Lectionary readings, but Bible study leaders are free to choose any other texts or themes they wish until the group decides otherwise. 

SHOULD WE START HAVING IN-PERSON church gatherings once or twice a month after we are all immunized?

April Lectionary Texts

4  Easter Sunday Luke 24:1-12   Psalm 118:17, 21-24
11 Second Sunday of Easter Luke 24:13-35  Psalm 30
18 Third Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1—7:2a, 44-60  Luke 23:33-34a, 46
25 Fourth Sunday of Easter Acts 8:26-39  Luke 24:44-47

April Services, 4-5:30 pm 

4  Location: on line 
Worship and sharing: Lois Rivera-Wenger
Easter Celebration of Readings and Songs: Kent Palmer
11 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Elly Nelson 
Bible Study: Dick Dumas
18 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Kent Palmer
Bible Study: Harvey Yoder
24 Location: on line 
Worship and Sharing: Guy VlasitsBible Study: Elly Nelson